“Cheverie” to be staged at the Downtown Playhouse during Founders Day
The Downtown Playhouse is presenting a special twonight weekend event during the Founders Day Celebration May 3 and 4.
“Cheverie” written and directed by Kelly Grooms, tells the story of one of the “darkest night’s in Pocahontas history” when a mob of residents took the law in their own hands under the guise of vigilante justice.
On March 21, 1901, George Cheverie, who lived with his family in a houseboat on Black River was in a dispute with a man over some logs. When the town Marshall John Norris came to ask Cheverie about the logs, Norris was subsequently shot and killed by Cheverie who was then arrested and taken to jail. Cheverie was hanged on the Marr Creek bridge later that night by the mob.
“The play is a two-act courtroom drama about the hanging,” Grooms said. “We try George Cheverie in a modernday courtroom but we bring back the five major players from that time so there is a contrast of cultures right there. We’re all dressed in suits and ties. The five people from the past are dressed in impoverished 1901 clothing. So this is a constant reminder. To me the beauty of what we’re doing is, yeah, if you want, constitutionally, you can find wrongdoing in what we did that night. But there is a common sense understanding that what was done was accepted in the time period. He was a worthless thug. He did murder, they believed, one of their town marshals. The play debates whether or not the town was justified in the hanging and if we should judge the townspeople based on whether or not they did the right thing. All the details of what happened that night come to out in the play.”
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