The cast of ‘Ghost Writer’ pictured at their first read-through

The Cast of Ghost Rider

THE story of the only Welshman who fought at Custer’s Last Stand is being brought to the stage at Fishguard’s On Land’s Edge Festival/Ar Ymyl y Tir 2023.
The Ghost Rider from Dinas Cross’ tells the story of William Batine James, who was among 210 soldiers massacred by thousands of Native Americans at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory in 1876.
What is being described as a ‘radical’ play – featuring an innovative all-female cast and atmospheric soundscape – has been adapted from the novel ‘If God Will Spare My Life…’ by Cardigan author Mike Lewis and will be performed at Theatr Gwaun as the festival’s opening event on September 22.
Well-known Pembrokeshire writer and actor Ceri Ashe takes the title role backed up by fellow Pembrokeshire actors Teresa Hennessy, Anna Monro and Jane Harries.
‘Ghost Rider’ depicts James riding out of Fort Lincoln under the command of the vainglorious General Custer.
An early morning mist makes it appear that the bluecoats are riding straight up into the sky. Will they be coming back?
Ahead of them, the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes are massing for one last desperate battle to take back their homelands.
On the doomed march to Little Bighorn, James recalls his troubled early life in hallucinatory flashbacks.
Mike Lewis researched the soldier’s story in north Pembrokeshire and at the battlefield in Montana.
His resulting novel was published by Victorina Press in 2021 and has been adapted for the stage by writer Anne Garside in collaboration with producer Patrick Thomas.
The novel’s final chapters kept me in such suspense that I was reading until way past midnight,” said Anne. “I just had to follow Will to the bitter end. I felt that this true-life story might be equally gripping for a theatre audience – especially as Will speaks to the immigrant experience, so often tragic, that is relevant to our own times. You could say that the dark hero of ‘Ghost Rider’ has come to haunt me!”
In a review of ‘If God Will Spare My Life…’ for Nation.Cymru, acclaimed author and critic Jon Gower wrote that Mike Lewis tells the story with ‘…experiments with chronology and with dream and hallucination and…a magical realist passage of events.’