Back row: Shelley Dziedzic and Jules Rykebusch Front row: Hollie Dziedzic, Carol Fiske, Barbara MacDonald, Lillian Fessenden and Eleanor Thibaut- The Lizzie Expo 1995 shown here at #92 Second Street

The Lizzie Borden Centennial- A Century of Fascination, organized by Jules Rykebusch in 1992 was a momentous event for all who had harbored an interest in the Borden case for years, and the beginning of friendships which would last a lifetime.  I met Len Rebello on the staircase of Maplecroft, which had opened for tours for the occasion. I also met Ed Thibaut and was amazed at his reproductions of the Borden skulls which were displayed in a case at Bristol Community College during the week’s events. Ken Souza, who worked for the Navigator and who did film editing at BCC was another important contact made at the conference.  After the conference ended, some of us who had met there decided we had had too much fun to quit then and there.  I asked Ed Thibaut if we could meet at his Somerset home, and pretty soon the Second Street Irregulars was born.  Debbie Shannon Valentine and Barbara MacDonald came onboard and then with Len, Ken and Ed- we were six.  We decided to try our hand at making a little version of the Borden story ourselves, and in the summer of 1994, Pear Essentials Productions was hatched.  Ken Souza had access to a good video camera and editing equipment, and as I live in the country and had a barn- our first stab at film-making was at my house.

Mrs. Churchill (Carol Fiske) and Andrew Borden (Ed Thibaut)

We drafted our friends and family to fill out the cast, did our best to disguise 20th century household items and set out on a one-day shoot.  Mostly it was hilarious but Ken managed to edit it all into a reasonably accurate final product with an Enya soundtrack.

 Ken directing Bridget Sullivan (Debbie Shannon Valentine) in the barn.

Over the years the gang was on-call for Lizzie Expos, role-playing for the Fall River Historical Society, Fall River Celebrates America, re-enactments at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, and other local lectures, high schools, libraries, and civic groups.  In 2007 the Second Street Irregulars “revitalized” with new energies and new members, and soon the old P.E.P. players followed suit.  The new cast debuted August 4, 2008 , with a few of the original troupe stopping by to cheer it on.  Stay tuned for great things!

Shelley Dziedzic,  August 2007

Back Row: David Valentine and Len Rebello, Front row: Deborah Shannon-Valentine, Barbara MacDonald and Ed Thibaut, August 1994

Premiere of The Country Lawyer at the Quequechan Club, August 1995

Ed Thibaut, Barbara MacDonald, Shelley Dziedzic, Debbie Shannon Valentine