Westlake High Theatre will present “Lizzie Borden of Fall River” at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 in the school’s auditorium.
The story follows Borden, a young woman accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in 19th century Massachusetts. She faces trial and backlash as she is investigated and ultimately acquitted of her crimes.
Director Kerry Onxley said the performance is incredibly accurate, based on the historical documentation available from the infamous trial.
“I’ve been wanting to do this script for the last five years,” Onxley said. “Now, the right actors have come along. They’ve developed and matured enough to handle such serious material.”
Onxley described the mood as bizarre and mysterious as the facts of the case play out on stage. He said the audience will be “gripped by suspense as clues fall in and out of place” as the alleged murders, trial and the repercussions of Borden’s acquittal unfold.
The performance speaks largely to themes of justice and injustice in American society, Onxley said.
“They’re confusing ideas on both sides,” he said. “Even after the trial, Lizzie was mistreated in her hometown. She was never treated the same after the trial.”
Onxley described the student actors as both talented and mature enough to convey the complexities of the show.
“You really need both to be able to embody all that this play stands for in American history,” he said.
The show is appropriate for young teens and older. Tickets are $7 at the door.