Thinkery & Verse presents:

THOU SHALT NOT

A stage-play, created by Thinkery & Verse, that re-imagines the Hall-Mills double homicide of 1922.

Sign Up for New Brunswick Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

In 1922, a young woman found her life destroyed when her mother, a choir singer at a small New Brunswick church, was discovered murdered alongside the church’s rector in a shocking double homicide. Now Thinkery & Verse collaborates with the Church of Saint John the Evangelist, the home parish of the minister and the choir singer, to present Thou Shalt Not, a resurrection of the infamous Hall-Mills murders. Thou Shalt Not, with the support of the Saint John’s congregation, investigates a  terrifying injustice, and the descent of a small-town society into a ruthless circus. Performances begin on Thursday, September 13, at 189 George Street in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Tickets are available now through the Thinkery & Verse website, or the e-box office at https://www.artful.ly/thinkery-verse.

Thinkery & Verse returns to  Saint John’s after their run of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and their acclaimed production of Bride of the Gulf  at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Karen Alvarado, co-artistic director of Thinkery & Verse, considers Thou Shalt Not a natural extension of their last two productions. “We’re excited to be back in New Jersey,” Alvarado says, “and to create a play so intimately tied to a place we love. The Hall-Mills story has the highs and lows of Shakespeare, but also requires the cutting-edge performance skills we developed while working on Bride of the Gulf. This true crime story is a perfect match for our passions as artists, and our commitment to working within the community at Saint John’s.”

According to Martha Godfrey, a member of the vestry at Saint John’s, “The Hall-Mills case is something that we’ve had hanging over our heads for a long time. It used to be, people would get mad at you for talking about it. I think, as a congregation, we need to get out in front of it. The play is a way of doing that.” The organist, Dr. Susan Huslage, agrees, adding, “Why wouldn’t we be allowed to talk about it? It’s how the community views us, though it was a long time ago—certainly before any of us were around. But growing up here, we knew the people involved. It’s not a good thing to have in your past.”

Thou Shalt Not focuses on Eleanor Mills, the second murder victim, and the effect of her death upon her daughter, Charlotte, a self-proclaimed 1920s ‘flapper.’ The play begins with Charlotte Mills returning to the church. She is wracked by fear, and senses that her life is nearing its own premature end. Charlotte is desperate for the peace that has evaded her since her mother’s murder. She sets out to resurrect and re-imagine the events surrounding her mother’s death one last time.

The writing team for Thou Shalt Not is rounded out by J.M. Meyer, the award-winning playwright of last year's Bride of the Gulf, and New York based writers Tom Byrne and Lou Bullock. Thinkery & Verse is proud to introduce new ensemble members Ania Upstill. Rebecca Servon, Johnny Kavanagh, Carl Muhler, and Cassandra Vaz. The ensemble includes returning Thinkery & Verse actress Monica Vilela (Bride of the Gulf) and music director Sean Ullmer (Bride of the Gulf and Rita the Cleaning Lady). Scenic designer Ashley Basile returns to Thinkery & Verse after previously working on Bride of the Gulf and Much Ado About Nothing, along with costume designer Liza Alexis. The ensemble includes Erin Bogert, Celine Dirkes, Rejy Drayton, and Kaitlin Ormerod, all of whom performed with Thinkery & Verse for the workshop of Sean Ullmer's new musical, Rita the Cleaning Lady. The choreographer, also returning from Rita the Cleaning Lady, is recent Rutgers Mason Gross alumna Jenna Zielinski.

Listings Information

Venue The Church of Saint John the Evangelist, 189 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

Dates Sept 13-21.

Time 7:30 pm (2hrs with intermission) except Sun, Sept 15, 3:00 pm, Sat, Sept 21, 3:00 pm & 7:30 pm.

Ticket prices $25 ($10 concession).

Thinkery & Verse Box Office https://www.artful.ly/thinkery-verse.

For further information, images, and interview availability, please contact Thinkery & Verse Co-Artistic Directors Karen Alvarado and J. M. Meyer at thinkery.and.verse@gmail.com.