Retelling a massacre

It is not often you're able to recreate a famous battle in a play on the same grounds on which it occurred, but members of the production The Last of the Mohicans will have the opportunity to do just that for the second year.

Steve O'Connor, a Colonie resident, the producer of the play and the man who also plays General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, said it all started when Michael Dufault vacationed in Lake George every summer and decided the spot would be great to put on a play.

"He adapted it to stage," he said. "From what I understand, he never found another stage adaptation of the story. It had been a television series, it was on Masterpiece Theater, it was a cartoon and had two movies, but it was never a stage play."

It still took a few more years to get the play under way. Five years ago, Dufault put together a board of re-enactors and local historians in the Lake George area to help formulate the script. A couple of years later, they had their first reading of the script onstage, which then attracted some investors who provided funding for the production. It soon became a part of the hotel occupancy tax in Warren County and began receiving funding.

"Three years ago, we did selected scenes of it for free for the public in Sheppard's Park and it was very well received," said O'Connor.

The production ran for six nights last year, with every night filled to its 300 seat capacity. O'Connor said they even put out extra seats to accommodate the demand. This was probably because the 23 person cast is able to use horses, cannons, torches and firearms, without ammunition, in their production.

Nature serves as the backdrop for the play. O'Connor said the only part that needed to be built was a cave for one scene in the play and the faCade for Fort William Henry. It is very exciting to act outdoors, O'Connor said, especially on the grounds where the history was made.

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