Saturday, December 6, 2008

Williamsburg evening programs...

are not included in a regular ticket, but are well worth the ticket price. The programs range in price from $7 per child, $12 per adult to a flat fee of $12 per person. Since we saved on the fourth hotel night, we used that money to attend one evening program. The VC does a good job of explaining the program's content so a parent can make an informed decision about whether a child should attend.

We chose the To Go A Pirating event. We found out later that we saw the very last performance. Most of the evening programs right now are holiday themed and 2009 will feature all new performances. In To Go A Pirating, they showed an actual pirate trial from 1727 of a man and woman captured in North Carolina but tried in Virginia. Twelve of the audience sit as high justices and ten are allowed to sit as jury. The rest of the audience sit in the gallery section.

My middle son was chosen as a high justice and the rest of us were awarded jury seats. These choosings came from our place in line outside the gate. My suggestion: get there early. No pictures or filming is allowed inside during most of the programs. It's an actual play with audience participation. We were allowed, at the appropriate time, to ask both the prosecutor, the witnesses and the accuseds questions. At the end of the trial, everyone votes to either condemn or acquit.

My boys have always been pirate crazy and this was a highlight for them to attend. We missed getting the earlier reservation time, so it was definitely a late night. It didn't start until 9:00 p.m. and was over around 10:15 p.m. My suggestion: do the research and book your ticket early--you can book online.

The actors greet you outside as you exit for pictures or autographs. It was then we learned that because it was the final performance, a great deal of ad lib had occurred. Our audience voted to convict both pirates. In the real trial, the man was convicted but the woman was acquitted. In the ad lib portion of the trial, the pirates managed to overpower the bailiff, steal his weapons and make off with the evidence loot. It was quite hilarious.

If you're planning a trip, make sure you budget for and attend at least one evening program.


  1. Growing up in VA and having the history of Colonial Virginia pounded into your head from the 4th grade on, it often doesn't occur to me that other people don't get that in depth education on all that happened here. I forget that others didn't grow up with descendants of the Randolph's and Harrison's as your playmates. You didn't spend your teenage summers making your pocket money by polishing the silver in their ancestral homes. We were married in a church which was built in the 1700's and where Martha and George Washington were married (or at least married by the minister of the church, although they were probably married at Martha's plantation White House Plantation, which she inherited from her first husband John Custis.) My parents' home was on what used to be a part of Brick House Plantation, a smaller annex to White House Plantation.

    It's fun to take it all in again from the perspective of someone who visits here for the first time. I'm glad you the whole family enjoyed the excursion.

  2. Oh, that really sounds like fun! I've never been to Williamsburg but I'm beginning to think I need to go there!

    On a totally different topic, Elle, I've tagged you for a meme.