Lizzie Borden goes on trial in Port Tobacco
Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco sells out show
Actors took audience members back to 1893 at the Port Tobacco Courthouse during a sold out presentation of “The Lizzie Borden Trial” Friday evening.
The Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco, along with some of the Port Tobacco Players came together to cast about 30 roles in “The Lizzie Borden Trial,” said Joyce Edelen, chairwoman of the society.
“It was team work,” Edelen said.
Edlen explained the play is about a woman in her early 30s who was accused of axe murdering her father and stepmother in the 1890s.
“We chose “The Lizzie Borden Trial” because it’s October and it’s sort of a spooky trial, which is also a true story,” Edelen said.
“The show is already sold out,” Edelen said during an interview the Thursday prior to the production.
This production was a part of the First Friday series at the Port Tobacco Courthouse, where the society throws some type of an event on the first Friday of every month, such as wine tastings, barbecues and plays.
“The First Friday series has been going on for about a year now,” Edelen said.
Lizzie Borden was played by Kate Ramirez, who also performs in Civil War reenactments.
Ramirez said that she had a prior interest in Lizzie Borden and has done research on her for years before being cast in the role.
“I like to perform and it’s great to give some more publicity to an area that has a lot of history but a lot of people don’t know about,” Ramirez said about the Port Tobacco area.
“She’s an amazing actress,” Edelen said.
“It’s a great way to warn people the lack of feminism during the 1800s; it really shows how people thought of women; they were nothing,” she said.
She said that because people thought so little of women, many didn’t think that women were capable of doing something like committing murder.
Charles County Circuit Court Judge William Greer played the role of the judge in the trial re-enactment.
Greer said that he was asked by the society to play the judge, which he said was the first production he’s been involved in since high school.
He said that playing a judge in the trial seemed “totally normal,” as compared to his job as a real life judge.
“It’ll be a great production,” Greer said minutes before the show.
In the beginning of the production, the audience was taken back into the 1830s, and was given a little background information about the Borden trial.
The audience and the jury watched as the prosecutor and defense attorney argued their cases of why the jury should or should not believe that Lizzie Borden committed the murder.
There were many neighbors, housekeepers, and family members heard in the court, while Borden sat next to her attorney in an all black 1800s dress and vail, fanning herself with a hand fan.
An hysterical reaction was given from the actors as the prosecutor showed the skulls of Borden’s father and stepmother, which happened in the actual trial as well.
After the counsels’ closing statements, the jury came forward with a not guilty verdict.
The cast received a standing ovation from the audience after Ramierz gave information of what happened to Borden following the trial.
Drinks and light food were available inside the courthouse after the production.
“For this particular Friday series we got a liquor license so we can serve alcohol following the show,” Edelen said.
The event committee included Joyce Edelen, Sheila Geisert, Brooke O’Connell, Kate Ramirez and Candice Kelly, as well as volunteers Susan Claggett, who was in charge of casting, and Cathy Compton, who was in charge of costumes.
William Greer as the judge, Richard Wathen as the defense attorney, Kate Ramirez as Lizzie Borden, Dave Taylor as John Morse and Jefferson Clark as the prosecutor act in the Society of Restoration of Port Tobacco’s production of “The Lizzie Borden Trial” at the Port Tobacco Courthouse Oct. 6.
The Prosecutor, played by Jefferson Clark, questions Bridgette Sullivan, played by Kimberly Bessler, about what she saw the day of the murder of Andrew Borden and his wife, during the production of “The Lizzie Borden Trial” at the Port Tobacco Courthouse on Oct. 6.