Reenactors portraying The King are a dime a dozen in Fort Mill, but Four Seasons may have played host to one of the first presidential reenactors to come to town.
Waxhaw, N.C. resident Aurthur Lightbody wowed the several dozen Four Seasons residents in attendance with his portrayal of the seventh President of the U.S., Andrew Jackson. Tall and gaunt, Lightbody embodied "Old Hickory" with ease as he performed "Andrew Jackson: A Majority of One," originally penned by Judy Simpson Cook for the Museum of the Waxhaws History Alive program last year. Lightbody has performed the piece several times in the last two years.
"The scene takes place on the night before (Jackson) gave his farewell address to Congress," said Richard Converse, who organized the show at Four Seasons.
"He has a gathering of friends in the White House on the last night of his presidency and talks about things that happened during his presidency."
Converse runs a genealogy group and is a member of the book club at Four Seasons. The book club had just finished reading a biography on Jackson called "Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times." The book piqued his interest in Jackson, and then he heard about Lightbody, and contacted him about performing at the Four Seasons Club House.
The performance doesn't pull any punches with a controversial and important historical figure. Lightbody, as Jackson, speaks matter-of-factly to the audience about everything from his wife Rachel's death to his adoption of a Native American child, to his reasoning for the forced removal of native tribes from vast swaths of the Eastern U.S.
"A sovereign nation cannot remain within another sovereign nation," he boomed. "If they stay, they must be assimilated."
As much history lesson as theatrical performance, Lightbody also expounded on the "Nullification Crisis" during Jackson's presidency. South Carolina threatened to nullify a tariff it thought unfair, but Jackson, believing in a strong union threatened to send in federal troops and hang the first man he found supporting nullification from the first tree he came to.
Lightbody is a Canadian by birth, though he's lived in Waxhaw for close to a decade now. Prior to that he lived in Michigan, California and even the Philippines as a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He took some theater classes along the way and always wanted to try his hand at acting. He's involved with the Calvary Church drama group in Waxhaw, and has portrayed Jackson on occasion since last March.
"When I came out to do this part in Waxhaw, a lady in the audience gasped, 'He looks just like him' because I am tall and slender like Andrew," Lightbody said
Prior to getting the part, Lightbody only knew vaguely of Jackson from history books. He's learned a lot more about him, a complex figure, since. He's able to relate to Jackson's Scotch-Irish heritage because of his own Scottish blood, he said.
"I tell my Southern friends, 'I just took a little longer to get here,'" he said.