RSVP now for The Mystery of Gauley Marsh 10/13 and 10/20
The Pocahontas County Opera House presents a one-of-a-kind outdoor performance at the Cranberry Glades, bringing to life The Mystery of Gauley Marsh, as written by G.D. McNeill in his historical novel "The Last Forest."
Performances begin at 1 p.m., October 13 and 20 on the boardwalk of the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area.
McNeill's tale describes a 19th century jury's trip to the Gauley Marsh as part of the murder trial of James Brooden. A stranger to the area, Brooden built himself a cabin in the serpent-ridden wilderness near the marsh in the early 1880s. The newcomer claimed to be gathering medicinal herbs from the marsh and—much to the consternation of locals—shunned firearms, preferring a bow and arrow to hunt—and even fish. A tall fellow with strange manners, long white hair and colored glasses, Brooden was said to be uneasy with visitors to his remote home.
After a dustup with one Jonas Heeb over a dead horse and property lines, Brooden was put on trial when Heeb was found dead with two puncture wounds on his neck.
The audience plays the part of the jury as the murder mystery unfolds along the Cranberry Glades boardwalk. As they meet the cast of characters in the glades, Lobelia fiddler Paolo Marks will provide musical accompaniment.
Adapted from the radio play produced by Allegheny Mountain Radio and West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Larry Groce, the outdoor drama is directed by Emily Newton, of Hillsboro.
Newton said part of the magic of this mystery is that the Cranberry Glades and surrounding wilderness remains much like it was when McNeill wrote his tale.
"We live in a pretty mystical place," Newton said. " You don't actually know what is around every corner of every trail."
The cast includes Margaret Baker, Arla Ralston, Frank Gifford, Bonnie Gifford, Ginger Must, Adrienne Cedearleaf, Laurie Cameron, Rebecca Anderson, Renae Jordan, Corinne Airgood and Erica Marks.
Admission is free, but due to the special setting of this production space is limited. Call the Cranberry Mountian Nature Center to RSVP at 304-653-4826.
The Mystery of Gauley Marsh is presented by the Pocahontas County Opera House Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, as a program of the Calvin W. Price Appalachian Enrichment Series, sponsored by the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau.