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Congratulations to cast and  support crew on a great effort and performance this year!

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Some candid photos from the camera of Barbara Morrissey (Emma Borden), at the Borden House, Oak Grove Cemetery and Maplecroft on August 4, 2009.

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“I have a great sympathy for Abby Borden, she had a tough job of trying to mother those two stepdaughters,” says Shelley Dziedzic, scriptwriter for the annual re-enactments.  In younger years Shelley took on the role of Miss Lizzie, which was “very difficult as so many people come with differing expectations of Lizzie.” Since 2008, the character of the slain Mrs. Borden has been a silent one, with the deceased Mrs. Borden prone on the floor upstairs. 

“I think it is important to have visitors to the house on this day see what Bridget Sullivan the maid, and neighbor Addie Churchill saw on August 4, 1892.  It is chilling to bring to life that black and white photo we all have seen of Abby Borden dead on the floor by the bed.  To see it in 3-D and in color adds another dimension.  Most people are shocked and silent when they enter the room, their eyes going up on the wall to the crime scene photo in black and white of the same scene. This could happen today.”

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Since 2007, the body of the other victim, Andrew Borden, has been carefully covered with a blood-stained sheet as he lay on the famous black sofa.

“We tried many things to capture the horror of Andrew Borden’s face- from prosthetic wounds to blood soaked eye patches but I think leaving it to the imagination of the guests by not showing everything works best.  Their inner vision of what is under the sheet is far more horrifying than anything we could create with make-up.”

Mostly Dziedzic wants people to know that the re-enactment is done with respect for the victims, and a true attempt to bring to life an historic event.

“I am always dismayed when I read a comment in the local papers or on the Internet that our group is glorifying a tragedy, or they say is a little wacky and gruesome.  I think historic re-enactors such as one finds at Gettysburg, Sturbridge, Plymouth, or Mystic Seaport or any number of places do a great service in presenting history in a visual way which will prompt people to want to learn more about what happened so long ago.”

Her dream is to one day have enough actors to take on the role of all the characters who had a part on that August morning- and to do so in real time.

“I think there just might be some real revelations if we could do it.”

copperIt’s nearly August 4th again on Second Street and the cast for the Tuesday re-enactments is busy with costumes, learning lines and figuring out how to spirit gum false beards on chins.  Cast parts have been assigned and this year there will be a few new characters and faces as well as a few familiar faces from years gone by.  Naturally everyone wants to know who will have the starring part of Miss Lizzie Borden. Over the years the house on Second Street has seen the role taken on by Deborah Alie, LeeAnn Wilbur, Shelley Dziedzic, Dee Moniz, and accepting  the Lizzie challenge this year is newcomer Lorraine Gregoire.  Lorraine joined P.E.P. last year in the fabricated role of “Miss Manning” of the Fall River Herald- roving Girl Reporter and was such a hit in that part, now even playing Lizzie Borden would not be daunting. Fresh from a successful portrayal of long-time Borden friend and confidante, Alice Russell, at the performance of Lizzie Borden Live on June 20th at the Eagle, Lorraine is dyeing her blonde hair brown and getting ready to channel the “spirit” of the cool Miss Lizzie B. Now that’s dedication!  Good Luck Lorraine!

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Cast 2009   More on our cast coming soon!

Uncle John- Joe Razda
Bridget- Kristin Pepe
Undertaker Winward- Andrew Correia
Dr. Dolan- Ted Gregoire
Lizzie- Lorriane Gregoire
Mrs. Bowen- Ellen Borden
Mrs. Churchill- JoAnn Giovino
Abby Borden (deceased)- Shelley Dziedzic
Alice Russell- Sue Hauck
Mary Doolan- Kathryn Woods
Officer Medley- Ben Rose
Emma Borden- Barbara Morrissey
Andrew Borden (Under the Sheet)- Jeff Massan

Miss Alice Russell

One of the few actual Fall Riverites in the cast, for Colleen,”Lolly”, Lizzie Borden is a family affair!  Cousin Andrew, ( Undertaker Winward) was a lively addition to the cast in 2007 and 2008, and son Logan is also an employee at #92.  Colleen brings plenty of acting experience to any role she plays and has, in addition to a beautifully melodic speaking voice, an effortless ability to become the character.  Alice Russell, Lizzie and Emma’s neighbor over many years, was in a unique position to observe the doings in the house after the murders as she stayed with the family for some days.  It was Alice who testified to seeing Lizzie burn a dress in the kitchen stove on the day after the Bordens’ funeral, and Alice’s testimony which was a deciding factor in indicting Lizzie.  Alice Russell is often voted the witness with whom most people would love to have had a private interview!  Her testimony about Lizzie’s visit on the night before the murders hinting of poison and her father having an enemy makes riveting reading.

 Colleen as Alice in The House of  Women- House of Mourning 2007

In Her Own Words– An interview with Colleen Johnson, August 19, 2008

1. I was born and raised in Fall River and am living back in the city after an absence of about five years.

2. I started acting and singing when I was about 11 years old.  I’ve had the good fortune to play both Anastasia Romanov and Lizzie Borden in plays about their lives.   The Lizzie role was for a student directed production of Sharon Pollock’s Blood Relations  produced for the Centennial Conference at BCC.  Mine was the dual role of Lizzie/Bridget. 
During my “mis-spent” youth, I was part of an all originals band called first Explorer, and then Internal Affairs.  During my stint with them we were lucky enough to open shows for both The Marshal Tucker Band, and Charlie Sexton. 

I’ve worked at King Richard’s Faire for the last 17 years, and will be back there again this season. 

3. My current regular job is guiding tours at the house.  I’m looking for a second job, but no luck so far!  😉

4. Personal interests include: Singing, making beaded jewlery, baking pastries and working with chocolate, a bit of sewing, and tramping around cemeteries, because it’s fun.

5. Ahhhh, who committed the murders, indeed!  I’m fairly unpopular I think, in that I believe there were actually two murderers, and that neither one of them was Lizzie!  I believe John Morse committed Mrs. Borden’s murder.  Who did the second one?  When I figure that out, I’ll write my book!

6. Other facts about me:  Hmmmm…My hair is pink, my nose is pierced, and I wear combat boots as every day shoes. The rest is subject to change without notice!  

 

Actress and playwright, Jill Dalton accepting her “Lambie” for best actress at the Mutton Eaters’ Banquet 2008
Sunday Sept.7, 2008, 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236 W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
 
Sunday Oct. 5, 2008, 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236, W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
 
Friday Nov. 14,  2008, 8:00 pm Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, RI
 
Saturday Nov. 15, 2008, 8:00 pm  Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, RI
 
Sun. Dec. 7, 2008, 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236 W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
 
Thurs, Fri, Sat, January 8,9,10, 2009, 7:30 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
 
Sunday Jan.11, 2009, 3:00 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
 
Thurs, Fri, Sat, January 15, 16, 17, 2009, 7:30 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
 
Sunday Jan.18, 2009, 3:00 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Applause applause! The Lizzie B&B day manager, Dee Moniz, designed some great tickets this year.  After last year’s crowd and sell out by noon, this year she decided printed tickets were the way to go- and it sure made things run so much more smoothly!  This was the first time this was tried and it will be a return engagement NEXT August 4th!  Thanks, Dee, from all the P.E.P. Players!

After the 1992 Lizzie Borden Centennial was but a memory, six people who had met at the event decided to form an armchair sleuth society which would meet about every 8 weeks.  Dubbed The Second Street Irregulars in homage to the Sherlockian society, the group would soon form the core of the Pear Essentials Productions troupe, an amateur band of would-be thesbians dedicated to bringing the Borden story to life.  The original six would grow over the years, and so did their projects and creative endeavors- from singing costumed quartets to large cast productions at the Second Street house on August 4th.  We live what we love.

Lambie Winner 2009 Best Actor Joe Radza as John Morse

Cast 2009

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