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Unjustly – a shadow story of murder in the County

Joan-McBride-as-Margaret-JonesUnjustly – a true story of murder in Prince Edward County, opened Thursday at Macaulay Heritage Park.

Combining shadow puppetry with live performers, the compelling play unravels the story of an infamous crime that gripped the County in 1883.

 Unjustly examines the shooting death of Peter Lazier, the confused and contaminated forensic investigation that followed and the trial and hanging of George Thomset and Joseph Lowder, leaving watchers to wonder: did justice prevail?

More than two years in development, Unjustly is written and directed by Picton’s Krista Dalby.

“The play is undeniably dark, but it’s an important story from our community,” Dalby said. “It reveals a turning point in our history, as these were the last hangings to take place in the County. It’s more than a sensational crime drama. The play explores themes of social accountability and the role we all play in maintaining a fair and just society.”

Narrated by actors Joan McBride and Guy Doucette, the play also features shadow puppetry performed by members of Festival Players’ Young Company, under the guidance of professional puppeteer Andrew Young.

“Puppetry is far from being just entertainment for kids,” said Craig Morrison, designer. “The visual magic of shadow puppetry is primal, like the shadows cast from a flickering summer campfire that inspire imagination. Using layers of simple cardboard cutouts and light, we create imagery that is almost cinematic, and can shine light on the dark corners of our shared histories.”

Performances take place in the historic church at Macaulay Heritage Park, and each show is to be followed by a walking tour of the nearby by jail and gallows, where artifacts from the trial are on display. The tour is made possible through a partnership with Museums of Prince Edward County.

Shows continue Friday to Sunday, all at 8p.m. Tickets: Festival Players Box Office at Books & Company, 289 Main Street Picton. 613-476-1991, 1-866-584-1991 or at $15 + HST

Guy Doucette with Thomset and Lowder

Guy Doucette with Thomset and Lowder


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  1. Alison K says:

    Excellent show, and recommend all to see.

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