Hall-Mills murders examined in new production

The lovers were found dead beneath a crabapple tree – murdered and posed as if sleeping.

A century ago, on Sept. 16, 1922, the bodies of Reverend Edward Hall and church choir member Eleanor Mills were discovered on a farm in Franklin just across the New Brunswick border. Evidence of their affair − letters − were strewn about them in the area known as “Lovers’ Lane.” His business card lay at his feet.

The double homicide remains a cold case, though many have speculated the who and the why over the years. Thinkery & Verse artistic directors J.M. Meyer and Karen Alvarado, while not ignoring the unsolved aspect of the crime, are exploring its aftermath through their original production, “Thou Shalt Not: A Site-Specific Play about the Hall-Mills Double Homicide.”

Reverend Edward Wheeler Hall and Eleanor Reinhardt Mills.

The veil between the past and present is thin there − actors sit in the same seats as their 1922 counterparts, the same hymns are sung, and the horsehair walls are those which witnessed the two lovers together.

Performances begin on Sept. 15, the day before the 100th anniversary, and run through Oct. 8, at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, 189 George St., New Brunswick. It’s same church where Hall preached, and Mills sang, and where the two carried on their affair.

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