Taking a comic interpretation of a tragic event
Tonight’s presentation of “The Lynching of Lucky Bill” by the Douglas County Historical Society is a comic adaptation of a tragic event involving an early Carson Valley pioneer.
Lucky Bill Thorington lived in Carson Valley in the 1850’s. Half of the people in the community thought of Lucky Bill as a generous and ambitious rancher and a friend to the common man. The other half viewed him as harboring a den of thieves, a gambler and a cheat. And no one was particularly happy about his toll road. He was eventually lynched for harboring a fugitive.
“The interesting parts of the event is something that is meant for a Hollywood Western,” said Dennis Little, writer and director of the production. “You see the different sides of Bill’s character and how the community and authority viewed him differently.”
“It’s an un-factual spoof on history,” added Bill Sweeney, who plays William Combs in the show. “That’s what a melodrama is, taking facts about something and making a scene about it, if you will. “
This is Sweeney’s 10th year performing in melodramas with the Douglas County Historical Society.
“I like doing things about the Valley and learning what happened here in a way that makes it interesting and relatable,” he said. “That’s what I think the audience enjoys too.”
Katrina Olsen, who plays Miss Kitty Katt, a bartender, has been acting since she was in high school. The 2013 Douglas graduate said she took drama all four years of high school and has been participating in productions within the community ever since. This is her second melodrama with the historical society.
“It’s a lot of fun and different,” she said. “I like the audience interactions and melodramas have a lot of that. It’s fun to put a twist on history, too.”
Although based on actual events, Little said the production comes with a warning label.
“This production is neither politically, historically or chronologically correct. Young children, the faint of heart and those of “tender ears” should not attend,” he said. “Despite that, it’s a good laugh and good time.”
Tickets are on sale at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center. Little said opening night is sold out but tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday.
Doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday for a matinee performance. Cost is $25 for DCHS members and $30 general public.
For more information visit http://www.historicNV.org or call 782-2555.