The temperature is rising, the pears are getting ripe and attention turns once again to the doings of August 4. 1892 in Little Old Fall River. The Pear Essential (PEP-PY) Players welcome two new members this year in the roles of Alice Russell, the Borden sisters’ bosom friend, and Dr. Dolan, medical examiner, played by husband and wife team of Ted and Loretta Sisco. The couple have been vistors at the house for several years and will take the plunge this year on August 4th! The Usual Suspects will be making a return this year in the old familiar roles and a few undertaking new character roles. Advance tickets may be reserved beginning on July 5th for the Monday, August 4th schedule of eight performances at 10:30, 11, 11:30, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3. Call the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum at 508-675-7333 to reserve tickets. Reservations are recommended as performances sell out early every year. Miss Carol Ann Simone will reprise her role as Miss Lizzie for her third year running. Did she do it? You decide!!
CAST FOR 2014
|Miss Porter/FR Herald||JoAnne Giovino|
|Abby Borden||Robin Bertoldo/Shelley Dziedzic|
|Emma Borden||Danielle Cabral|
|Lizzie Borden||Carol Ann Simone|
|Dr. Dolan, M.E.||Ted Sisco|
|Mrs. Bowen||Ellen Borden|
|Mrs. Kelly||Kat Woods|
|Mrs. Burt/Nosey Neighbor||Shelley Dziedzic|
|Officer Harrington||Rick Bertoldo|
|Marshal Hilliard||Ray Mitchell|
|Miss Manning/FR Globe||Barbara Morrissey|
|John Morse||Joe Radza|
|Alice Russell||Loretta S. Sisco|
|Detective Seaver||Michael Shogi|
|Bridget Sullivan||Suzann Rogers|
|Undertaker Winward||Jerry Pacheco|
As the leaves begin to turn in September, thoughts begin to turn towards Lizzie Borden again. After a brief respite from the August Lizzie fever, cooler temps and the approach of Halloween always seem to inspire revivals of Borden-centered plays around the country. The Boston Lyric Opera has some exciting news. The BLO’s Opera Annex production this year is a commissioned work, a new chamber version of Jack Beeson’s Lizzie Borden (Nov. 20-24, in the Castle at Park Plaza). – (See more at: http://bostonclassicalreview.com/2013/09/a-bustling-boston-music-season-on-tap-with-many-anniversary-celebrations/#sthash.xAJvjAuB.dpuf)
Paranormal groups and television production companies are drawn to the house on Second Street to capture that something extra which flavors the very atmosphere this time of year. The house is busy with overnight guests and day tours and thoughts are turning to Halloween night, which is a sell-out every October 31st.
Preparing for the performances and on the day!
Yes, it’s that time of year again- the August through Halloween Lizzie Season when plays, books, Lizzie website news, hatchet-throwing contests and such begin to appear with a vengeance. The kickoff is usually on July 19th, Lizzie’s birthday, and the fever pitch continues right through Halloween night when the house on Second Street is packed to the attic and more than one trick- or- treater dresses up as the infamous Lizzie B.
A special Borden exhibit will debut at the Rock Street Fall River Historical Society on August 4th, and as usual, the Pear Essential Productions will be putting on the annual dramatization at the Borden house on Second Street. This year there will be a few new faces in the familiar roles, and a new director for the Bordenian amateur acting troupe, many of whom work at the Bed and Breakfast during the week. Oak Grove will be hopping with visitors to the Borden plot, and the Herald News and other area newspapers will not fail to recall those famous days of 1892. Are you ready for All Things Lizzie?
It was a quiet Winter and Spring for All Things Lizzie in the public eye, but behind the scenes, there was a buzz. The big news in the Bordenphile community is the possibility of two new biopics about Lizzie and her trial. Casting of one Lifetime channel made-for-TV effort has been posted, with Christina Ricci in the coveted role of Lizzie B.
The long-awaited version with Chloe Sevigny in the title role was shelved due to the filming workload of the actress, which is a shame since Tom Hanks and Playtone would have been a dynamite combo for HBO. Maybe we have not heard the end of that one yet.
On the historical front, The Fall River Historical Society has pulled out all the stops for a refreshed Lizzie Borden display which includes a dainty Delft-like teapot Lizzie once bestowed upon her companion, Miss Russell (no relation to poor Alice).
On Second Street, casting is underway for August 4th dramatizations, this year produced and directed by Cleveland’s Mike Shogi, taking over for long-time director, Shelley Dziedzic who has retired after 14 years. Yes, the Season of Lizzie is upon us and will be going full tilt through Halloween, you can be sure!
First, a big thank you to followers and readers of Warps & Wefts as we mark the 600th post since 2007. Comments and emails are much-appreciated.
Well, just as seen posted here every October, Lizzie is back in time for Halloween in every fun house, horror venue, costume contest, and not more than a few really BAD films. Usually seen in a red and black dress with puffy leg-o’-mutton sleeves and red hair, she is swinging a bloody hatchet- or even more often an axe, and looking maniacal. Sadly, a really intriguing mystery goes missing in all the gore, and much misinformation about the case gets repeated as Gospel truth which makes a lasting impression. The true story is as scary as anything: two harmless old people savagely slashed and bludgeoned in the head right in the safety and comfort of their family home; home– a place which should be the haven of safety. If this can happen there- then who is safe? Horrifying thought. Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock got it right. Horror truly comes in the unexpected violence which intrudes into the safe and simple day-to-day, ordinary life.
So this year, W&W is not going to comment on Halloween Lizzie doings all over America. Rather, try having a really good historical scare by reading the source documents on the case. The witness statements, inquest, preliminary, and trial are all available on Amazon, and some free online. And while you are waiting for your Amazon delivery, here is something interesting to read.
The article on Mrs. Lawdwick (Ladowick, Ladwick, Lodowick. etc.) Borden is still a much-visited link on Warps and Wefts. https://lizziebordenwarpsandwefts.com/the-four-wives-of-lawdwick-borden/
The tragic tale of Mrs. Eliza Darling Borden, (Lizzie’s great-uncle’s second wife who had died by the time Lizzie was born) throwing her three children in the cellar cistern, then stepping behind the chimney and slitting her throat is one which captures attention. The incident in 1848, and the mention of it at Lizzie’s trial keeps the curiosity alive about that house. The graves of the two little ones who died, and their troubled mother, are visited more often now at Oak Grove Cemetery. They are directly across the road from the Southard Miller and Dr. Bowen’s plots.
A few weeks ago, the Muttoneaters, at their annual gathering, were invited to see the old cellar where the tragedies took place. The staircase is steep, and probably original.
Today it is used as a family room and traces of the original layout are hard to find. The eastern room is now a small laundry with washer and dryer. The main room which is accessed at the bottom of the steep stairs has a fireplace, the infamous chimney now covered by a brick wall to the ceiling. One unusual feature is the floor -to-ceiling woodworking which is surprising and beautifully rendered into small shelves, cabinets and little drawers. The owners, aware that Dr. Kelly once lived here, thought perhaps the doctor’s home surgery or consulting room may have been located here, the numerous storage spaces used for instruments and medical equipment. Dr. Kelly raised a happy family of three children here, and now the room is again filled with laughter and children- all vestiges of that dreadful day in 1848 gone.
Among the fascinating photos taken by hired photographer Mr. Walsh, on the day of the murders is this one below of Andrew Borden reclining post mortem on a caned autopsy board(sometimes called a cooling board). Cooling boards came in many patented designs. Air had to circulate through in the styles which had no ice drawer beneath, so wooden ones were frequently drilled with holes in elaborate patterns. Cane was naturally open-weave. In this photo, Mr. Borden has an incision from sternum to abdomen which was needed in order to extract his stomach. The same procedure was done on Mrs. Borden in the diningroom while Mr. Borden’s took place in front of the black horsehair sofa in the sitting room. A portion of the sofa may be seen in the background as well as the arm of the sofa. The doorway in the center of the photo goes into the kitchen.
After a long search, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast museum has procured an 1890’s autopsy board which is strikingly similar, if not exact, to the one on which Mr. Borden reclines. This model folds in the middle so as to make it easy for the medical examiner or mortician to transport it.
The term “cooling board” also refers to another type of solid wooden board upon which the body is laid while in transit, awaiting transit or awaiting attention from the mortician. The body literally goes from a warm state just post mortem to “cooling” on the flat surface. Vintage cooling boards are quite collectible and can easily fetch a sum between 400- 1000 dollars.