Lizzie Bor­den goes on trial in Port Tobacco

So­ci­ety for the Restora­tion of Port Tobacco sells out show

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JESSI STICKEL jstickel@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Jes­si­caIndyNews

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.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JESSI STICKEL

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.

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