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Metamora


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John Augustus Stone (1800—1834)

Edwin Forrest (1806—1872) actor

Park Theatre

 

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AT: The Last of the Wampanoags A: John Augustus Stone Pf: 1829, New York Pb: 1943 G: Melodrama in 5 acts; prose S: Indian encampment, council chamber, and settlers' homes, America, late 17th c. C: 13m, 2f, 1 boy, extrasMordaunt welcomes his daughter Oceana, arrived from England to marry Lord Fitzarnold. She has been rescued from a panther by an imposing ‘Indian’, Metamora, Chief of the Wampanoags. Metamora declares he wishes to be a friend to the white man, but will not let his people be enslaved to them. Walter, a noble-minded orphan, loves Oceana and hopes that she will not marry Fitzarnold. A council is held, where Metamora is fraudulently accused of treachery. Metamora escapes, and in the scuffle, Mordaunt is wounded. While Fitzarnold tries to force Oceana into a wedding ceremony, Metamora returns with his braves, burning boats and attacking Mordaunt's house. Oceana saves her father and falls into Walter's arms. Walter is captured by the Wampanoags, and Metamora's wife is held by the whites. The whites offer an exchange and treacherously capture Metamora. Oceana, mourning the death of her father and the loss of Walter, is saved from Fitzarnold's rape by the intervention of Metamora, who has escaped. The settlers mount an armed attack on the Indian camp and are victorious. Oceana and Walter are freed. Metamora stabs his wife to preserve her from slavery and then bravely faces the guns, cursing the white man as he dies.

AT: The Last of the Wampanoags A: John Augustus Stone Pf: 1829, New York Pb: 1943 G: Melodrama in 5 acts; prose S: Indian encampment, council chamber, and settlers' homes, America, late 17th c. C: 13m, 2f, 1 boy, extras

In 1828 the great tragedian Edwin Forrest offered a $500 prize for a play whose hero was a Native American. Metamora won, and the role of the Chief remained one of Forrest's favourites throughout his career. Popularity of the play continued into the 1880s. Packed with melodramatic incident and characters, and written in flowery language, its main asset is the impressive figure of Metamora.

Subjects: Theatre — Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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