Cross and Sword

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Cross and Sword is a 1965 play by American playwright Paul Green. It is Florida's official state play, having received the designation by the Florida Senate in 1973.[1] It was performed during the summer in St. Augustine for more than 30 years, closing in 1996.[2][3][4]

Beginning[edit]

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green created a play in 1937 about Walter Raleigh's Roanoke Colony entitled Lost Colony. It was written as a "symphonic drama" blending music, dance, pantomime, and poetic dialogue into a larger-than-life historical play. In 1965 Green was commissioned to write a play commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine.[5] [2][3] The play was to be performed at the newly constructed, 2,000 seat St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The result was Cross and Sword: A Symphonic Drama of the Spanish Settlement of Florida.[6] The play is a musical reenactment depicting Florida's early history at St. Augustine, especially its colonization by Spaniard Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his settlers' bloody conflicts with French Huguenots at Fort Caroline in present day Jacksonville.

Professional interest[edit]

Actor Richard Boone moved to St. Augustine from Hawaii in 1970, and worked with the production when he was not acting on television or in movies, until his death in 1981. In the last year of his life, Boone was appointed Florida's cultural ambassador.[7] During the 1970s, he wrote a newspaper column for the St. Augustine Record called, "It Seems To Me". He also gave acting lectures at Flagler College in 1972-1973.[8]

End[edit]

Production for Cross and Sword, with its large cast and elaborate costumes and props, was expensive.[9] For many years, costs were partially subsidized by the state. However, changes to state rules led to a decrease in funding. Faced with a decreased budget and an aging theater in need of renovation, Cross and Sword lobbied for $27,000 from the state Division of Cultural Affairs in 1997, but the proposal was rejected. After the 1996 season, the production closed its doors.[9] In 2002, St. Johns County acquired and renovated the amphitheater, turning it into a concert venue.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Florida State Symbols - The State Play: Cross and Sword
  2. ^ a b de Yampert, Rick (2008-08-21). "Amped at the amphitheatre". Daytona Beach News-Journal Online. Retrieved 2008-09-07. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Reinink, Amy (2008-08-22). "St. Augustine gets amped". Ocala Star Banner. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  4. ^ Rajtar, Steve; Kelly Goodman (2008). A Guide to Historic St. Augustine, Florida. The History Press. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-1-59629-336-6. 
  5. ^ St. Augustine Amphitheatre - Venue - Specs
  6. ^ Paul Green Bibliography
  7. ^ MSN Movies: Celebrities-Richard Boone
  8. ^ TV-dot-Com: Biography-Richard Boone
  9. ^ a b Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions: Cross and Sword
  10. ^ de Yampert, Rick (2008-08-21). "Amped at the amphitheatre". Daytona Beach News-Journal Online. Retrieved 2008-09-07. [dead link]