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Footlight Club’s Psychological Thriller, ‘Blood Relations,’ Digs Into Facts & Speculation of Lizzie Borden

Last updated on February 2, 2019

The life of Fall River’s Lizzie Borden has always fascinated Americans interested in the macabre. The Footlight Club’s “Blood Relations” uses historical facts and speculation to paint a picture of the woman who was accused and acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother.

(All photos courtesy of Sacred Harbor Photography)

The Footlight Club’s ‘Blood Relations’, is about the the murder mystery of the Lizzie Borden killings.

Directed by Kristin Hughes, “Blood Relations,” opened Feb. 2 and runs for six shows through February 16.

Karen Dervin performs as Lizzie Borden and Meghan Edge plays a fictional character called The Actress.

Canadian Sharon Pollock’s play paints a picture of Borden, who was charged and acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother, in a time when individuality and freedom of women was stifled.

“Blood Relations” debuted in Canada in the early 1980s and on Broadway in 1983.

The Footlight Club cast is lead by Karen Dervin as Lizzie, Meghan Edge as The Actress, and Jack Sinnott and Lis Adams as the parents. Shari Caplan, Nicholas A. Cipriano and David H. Brown are also in the play.

Rebecca Glucklich and Sara Schonour are co-producers of the play.

The play uses flashback scenes leading up to the events before the murders, and tries to answer the still unanswered question of who killed Borden’s parents.

Pollock actually created a fictional character, The Actress, to provide a wider context underlying the murders. The murders took place in 1892, and the play imagines a day, 10 years later, when The Actress visits Lizzie and asks her if she committed the murders. In the play Lizzie agrees to provide background of the events leading up to the murders, and The Actress plays Lizzie’s part.

The Footlight Club is America’s oldest continuously operating community theaters.

The play is told with a slight twist by utilizing flashbacks. Using the flashbacks reflects one theory by psychologists about Lizzie Borden — that she suffered from a form of disassociative amnesia — and would assume another person’s identify for a short period of time.

Did Lizzie Border suffer from some type of amnesia? Did she even kill her father and stepmother??

The manner in which the story is told has a slight twist, involving which actors portray whom in the flashbacks. This reflects one theory suggested by psychologists about Ms. Borden, that she suffered from a form of disassociative amnesia, in which one assumes another’s identify for a short period of time. But that is one of many theories behind this open case which still fascinates, to this day.

The Footlight Club’s home Eliot Hall is at 7A Eliot St., Jamaica Plain.
Lizzie Border was not allowed to work, and could only escape her family by marrying, which is something she didn’t want to do.
The play uses facts and speculation to tell the infamous story of Lizzie Borden.

“Blood Relations” runs through Feb. 16. All performances are at 8 pm. Tickets are $22/$20 (members) and available at or at the box offie on the night of the show. The Footlight Club performs at Eliot Hall (7A Eliot St., Jamaica Plain).