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The Correspondent

The Correspondent

The Student News Site of Indiana University Kokomo

The Correspondent

“From Dark Pages” returns to the Seiberling Mansion

On October 20-21, multiple showings of “From Dark Pages” will be performed
Photo provided by James Holloway

The Howard County Historical Society will showcase its seventh rendition of “From Dark Pages,” a theatrical murder mystery tour, at the Seiberling Mansion Oct. 20-21.


“From Dark Pages” is an annual performance staged the weekend before Halloween at the Seiberling Mansion, a Neo-Jacobean and Romanesque Revival architectural piece of the HCHS campus at 1200 W Sycamore St. in the Old Silk-Stocking neighborhood.


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In an immersive experience, visitors of the event are led on a hunt for Jack the Ripper through three floors of the Seiberling Mansion, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.


Authors and their characters from various Victorian-era literature guide the investigation.


Heather Voltz, program director, is responsible for casting choices, costume design, and staging directions within the HCHS campus.


“The show is done uniquely,” Voltz said. “Rather than the audience coming in and sitting down with the show happening in front of them, they go throughout the Seiberling and the show happens around them.”


Literary figures within the production include H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, Queen Victoria, Edgar Allen Poe, Dr. Frankenstein, Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.


Local theatre actor James Holloway is performing as Edgar Allen Poe. He has been involved with the performance since its third rendition.


“Our play is set in Victorian England. Specifically, the Whitechapel district of London,” Holloway said. “Our heroes of the story are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his literary creation, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. They are on a search for the Whitechapel killer.”


Holloway conducted extensive research in his preparation for the role.


“Any actor knows the value of research. I located every biography I could, every historical fact of record plus any newspaper articles written about Poe, including his obituary,” he said.


Holloway said that his favorite piece by Poe is Telltale Heart. He can recite it by memory and said he used to use it as a campfire ghost story.


“It was great fun,” Holloway said.


The HCHS campus consists of the Seiberling Mansion and the Elliot House, each with its own carriage buildings.


Stew Lauterbach serves as the HCHS curator. He was able to provide the history behind the production, of which he shares a personal connection.


“The ‘Dark Pages’ script was written for production as a fundraiser for Indiana Landmarks by members of the Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis, a club devoted to the study of the Sherlock Holmes stories,” he said. “Two of the authors were my father, Edward Lauterbach, and Patricia Ward, a friend I made my first year at IU.”


Given that the production was written by “Sherlockians”, the script is chock-full of various details about Victorian culture and Sherlock Holmes. Lauterbach became familiar with the script in 2009.


“I thought it might be fun to do at the Seiberling and approached Indiana Landmarks,” he said. Since its ten-year run at Landmarks had concluded, they not only gave Howard County Historical Society their blessings but threw in two large racks of costumes from their production.”


Annual auditions for “From Dark Pages” begin in August. This year, between 20 and 25 cast and crew are involved.


“We do auditions in early August. For any aspiring actors, keep an eye on the Howard County Historical Society website. I will post something on there for auditions next year,” said Voltz.


The event serves as a fundraiser for HCHS. It is recommended by HCHS for guests 13 and up, with parental guidance advised. Tickets are $30.


Performances are on Oct. 20 and 21 at 6:30, 7:45, and 9:00. There is an accessible performance that is contained to the first floor of the mansion on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m.


Parking is available behind the mansion, with access through West Walnut Street.


Holloway encourages the community to come and support local theatre.


“This is up close and personal…’ you can smell the grease paint!’,” he said.


Tickets and additional information can be found on both the HCHS website and Facebook account.

Facebook: Howard County Historical Society (the one with the cool building.)


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