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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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A big thank you to all who have sent in photos and helped with the big day: the P.E.P. 2009 cast, Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum staff (Dee and John, Donald and LeeAnn, Dave, Logan, Deb and her daughters, Emily, Ed Thibault,), Don Sykes, Bob Shaw, ( there’s a big part for you next year, Don!!), Debbie Allard at the Herald News, the folks at Channel 10, Fall River Spirit, Rick Rebello, the visitors and guests at #92 who support us every year with their enthusiasm and attendance- and Bob Dube who graciously gave us a look at Lizzie’s life at Maplecroft. And now- on to August 4, 2010- with a few surprises in store! 

Visit us often at our new address https://pearessentialproductions.org/ the old address will still bring you here. This slide show courtesy of Lorraine & Ted Gregoire.

Joe Madza’ s just too nice a guy to be playing old Uncle John, Lizzie Borden’s so-called peculiar relative.  John, who stayed in the guest room where Abby Borden would be murdered the next day has always been a somewhat sinister personality. Many think John knew about the murders, helped to plan and assist the assailant, or maybe even had a hand in it himself!  His alibis were nearly too perfect.  The only thing not clear was a motive.

pearbwJoe ‘s interest in the case began with a vengeance after viewing the 1975 Elizabeth Montgomery television film when he was a college freshman. “I was both admiring and appalled at the same time that a woman could do such a thing.”  Many applaud Lizzie’s grit in getting what she wanted and then soothe their conscience by saying the elderly Bordens were not nice and probably deserved what they got!  “We have to somehow justify approving of murder,” Joe says sheepishly.

The Victorian and Egyptian eras have a great resonance for Joe- and he wonders if reincarnation is so far-fetched.  “I felt right at home the first time I stepped into the Borden House- I had come home again.” 

When asked whose eyes he would have liked to have been looking through on the day of the murders, he responded immediately,

“Addie Churchill’s!  She was the very first on the scene, and she saw something important that day- something she would not tell.  It must have been an eyeful because she never told what it was”.

As to the killer, Joe has no doubt it was Lizzie- all the way, and solo-although others in the house and neighbors on the street knew more than they were willing to tell about the situation in the family and what they saw and heard that day.  Joe also agrees with the theory that Abby was the intended victim and Andrew was just unfortunate in coming home at the wrong time before Lizzie could concoct a reasonable alibi for the time of Abby’s murder. 

 “His was a killing of self-preservation for Lizzie- because who would have known better who could have killed Mrs. Borden and why?”

Joe has researched his character inside and out for his portrayal Tuesday.

“I don’t like Morse- I don’t think he was a very lovable man or a nice one,” Joe admits candidly. “He did not seem surprised at Abby’s death, and his behavior watching and taking it all in while eating pears under the trees in the back yard seems unnatural behavior”.

 But the chance to don a fake gray beard and look “peculiar” and sinister under the pear trees was a role too good to miss!  When Joe is not time traveling to 1892, he is an eighth grade teacher in Warren, Ohio teaching science and gifted students.  I’d bet he’s a favorite with the kids!

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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.”

Sweet Bridget from County CorkThis year the role of Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan from County Cork will be played by P.E.P. newcomer Kristin Pepe.  Shown above getting into the character on June 20th at Lizzie Borden Live, Kristin’s greatest worry is getting down the Irish brogue, which may “for an Italian gal”-  be a bit of a challenge.  Kristin joins the P.E.P. Players fresh from the Lizzie Borden Society Forum and is an intrepid Mutton Eater First Class!  A few years ago Kristin solved the pressing mystery of where Lizzie’s sister Emma went to school-Wheaton Female Seminary, now Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and has since enjoyed researching other Borden-related projects.

Over the years, Borden house employees Kathleen Cramer-Troost, Samantha Carey, Amanda, and former general office manager Michele have taken a stab at playing the Borden maid.  Looks like Kristen already knows how to serve up something tastier than mutton!

Bridget with coconut chicken

It hardly seems possible that August 4th is just around the corner again.   Rehearsals for this year’s production will take place on August 3rd, and new cast members will be learning the ropes.  This year we welcome Joe Razda of Warren, Ohio as Uncle John.  Joe comes out to Fall River for a week every year and this year will be the first character visitors will meet on August 4th.  Uncle John’s alibi was that he had been in the eastern part of the city visiting relatives at the Emery house on Weybossett St.  Joe has ordered a real hair fake beard and John’s signature gray sack suit and string tie for the occasion.

Also new to the August 4th cast this year is Ellen Borden, sister of Barbara Morrissey (our annual Miss Emma). The sisters are relatives of Lizzie through the Cook Borden line.  Ellen recently appeared with the Mutton Eaters as Dr. Bowen’s wife, Phoebe at the June 20th performance of Lizzie Borden Live at the Eagle.

Ellen and Barbara Borden

Phoebe Bowen

Check back daily for news on the production and cast members as we start the one -week countdown to the annual event!

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!

lorraine

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

Lambie Winner 2009 Best Actor Joe Radza as John Morse

Cast 2009

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