Play about ‘The Great Rope’ to be performed Aug. 2 in Oswego

The Great Rope carry was  part of the Oswego Independence Day Parade July 6. The story of the carry will be presented in a play to be performed Aug. 2 at Fort Ontario.
A reenactment of the Great Rope carry was part of the Oswego Independence Day Parade July 6. The story of the carry will be presented in a play to be performed Aug. 2 at Fort Ontario.

Submitted by Oswego County Tourism

More than 40 years ago, Rosemary Nesbitt penned a play about a 12-year-old boy involved in the War of 1812.

The play, in which Oswego settlers played a major role, is called “The Great Rope,” and it is scheduled to be presented in August as part of the War of 1812 200th anniversary commemoration.

Rosemary Nesbitt gave her community 50 years of culture and the arts, provoked imaginations and created exciting memories.

Five years to the day after her passing and 200 years after the event, Oswego will travel back in time to revisit not only a great victory in the War of 1812, but also celebrate the life of the one who told us the tale of the great rope and made it a captivating story with children at the heart of it.

The recreation of this 200-year-old event will come to life at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 at the Fort Ontario parade ground in collaboration between the Maritime Museum, which Rosemary founded, Fort Ontario State Historic Site and CNY Arts Center.

Direction for the play is by SUNY Oswego theater professor Jonel Langenfeld.

In a spirit of true collaboration, in 1814 more than 100 men and boys secretly gathered to carry a nautical rope and supplies by land from Sandy Creek to Sackets Harbor to avoid British capture of the critical equipment.

With the rope weighing almost 10,000 pounds and 600 feet long, it took about 100 men at a time to carry it, almost 2 feet around, 20 miles overland while the British lurked nearby just offshore.

Twenty miles may not seem like much in today’s fast paced society and transportation, but it is estimated the trek lasted two days and many men carried lasting scars on their shoulders from the rope.

Half that number, 50 people and growing, are keeping a fast pace with only four weeks of rehearsal and creation of sets and costumes, with historical accuracy driving the production thanks to assistance from Jenny Emmons, historian and Paul Lear, Fort site manager.

The fort’s parade grounds and barracks on site serve as a backdrop for the outdoor event. Audiences should bring lawn chairs and blankets and prepare to enjoy another Rosemary Nesbitt story brought to life in all its pageantry.

Tickets at $5 for adults, $2 for teens and under 12 free will soon be available at the Maritime Museum and CNY Arts Center Arts in the HeART Gallery in Fulton, 47 S. First St.

For more information visit www.hleewhitemarinemuseum.com, www.fortontario.com or www.CNYArtsCenter.com.

 

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