Last year we were without an Andrew Borden, and at the last minute dramatic changes had to be made to the usual script which features Andrew.  How we could have used a Mr. Winward at the House of Mourning then!  The premise became that visitors to the house were arriving for calling hours on August 5th, late in the afternoon to pay their final respects to Andrew and Abby. The coffins had not yet arrived from Mr. Winward’s but the house was swathed in black crepe, mirrors covered in deepest black, the clock stopped on the mantel at 11 a.m., Andrew’s time of death.

The ladies, dressed in somber black, waited to receive the mourners.

(L to R) JoAnne Giovino, Shelley Dziedzic, Colleen Johnson,

Samantha Carey, Barbara Morrissey

Although the Bordens were not really laid out on the diningroom table, in the absence of coffins, the story was given out that the bodies had just been prepared for the laying out, and only the feet protruded from beneath the shrouds.  The feet on the right were ably portrayed by this year’s Mr. Winward, Andrew Correia. Mr. Correia, himself a mortician, then had a inkling of what it was to be on the other side of the sheet!

Guests were ushered into the parlor, in such a subdued spirit that one would have sworn a real wake was in progress. A few of them even arrived dressed in head to toe mourning so as to be ready to play along with the cast. The role of Bridget was played by day tour guide, Samantha Carey.  Miss Lizzie, portrayed for positively the last time by Shelley Dziedzic, greeted guests in her upstairs room as she bustled about laying out her mourning attire.  Mrs. Dziedzic, who clearly had not seen Lizzie’s age of 32 in over two decades informed the guests that the “ordeal” had added over 20 years to her face overnight.  Alice Russell (Colleen Johnson) hovered solicitously around Lizzie’s room, telling the visitors about Lizzie’s Wednesday night visit to her house and Mr. Borden’s “enemy”.  Quite by surprise, an unexpected visitor arrived in Lizzie’s room declaring he was Mr. Hathaway from the Metacomet mill.  He was dressed to the nines in full Victorian regalia and tendered his condolences, reassuring Emma and Lizzie that “the girls” would be kindly “looked after” by the Board of Trustees.  You just never know what will happen on August 4th.

Emma Borden (Barbara Borden Morrissey) baked funeral cakes on the old black stove in the kitchen along with her neighbor, Mrs. Addie Churchill, played by JoAnne Giovino. The pair had plenty to say about Lizzie and their theories.  Guests were asked if they wished to see the cellar where the hatchets and axes were found and thus ended their calling hour with lemonade and cookies after signing the condolence book and receiving a Victorian funeral card as a remembrance.  This year we decided it was a pretty good thing to have the fellows!  But for a one-time, 9 performances only script, -it was a novelty act. After all- the show must go on!