I’m afraid this blog may become All Roxy All The Time sooner than one might expect. Opening night is one month from tomorrow. Plenty of time, you say? Perhaps. But it is difficult to concentrate on other things, especially on nights when we have rehearsal. And anyways, I thought of something new to talk about.
Roxy, for anybody just tuning in, is a play written by local author Jack Sherman about Roxalana Druse, who murdered her husband and was later hung for it at Herkimer County Jail. The play is being presented by Herkimer County Historical Society at Ilion Little Theatre. I play Roxy.
The historical society is going to great lengths to make the play authentic. They have biographical information on many of the characters. We have two costume designers who are striving to make the costumes true to the time period. And then there is the set…
Since Roxalana Druse was famously the last woman hung in New York State (James Greiner wrote a book about her called Last Woman Hanged: Roxalana Druse; good book, read it), one might expect to see a gallows in a play on the subject. So the historical society got a gallows. In fact, they got some folks at BOCES to build them a gallows just like the one used on the real Roxy.
These gallows were pretty interesting in and of themselves. They were called the Galloping Gallows, because they could be taken apart and moved. Herkimer County rented them for the occasion. Additionally, this was not a traditional gallows, where the condemned fell through a trap door. Instead, a weight was dropped, jerking the body upward. Who thinks of these things?
I have to confess, I am feeling just a little bit nervous about this contraption. I think it is a bit more realistic than is strictly necessary. How do I know the guy playing the sheriff won’t get a little carried away with his part on opening night? Do you suppose I should insist upon a stunt double?