‘Truth in Cold Blood’ debuts July 16

  • Monday, July 7, 2014

The nearly forgotten story of a Southern Episcopal bishop murdered by one of his own peers in 1928 will surface at the historic Dock Street Theatre, less than 100 feet away from where the incident occurred.

Thomas Tisdale's original play, “Truth in Cold Blood,” dramatizes for the first time the story of the shooting and death of Bishop William Alexander Guerry and the events leading up to how it happened. Tisdale, an attorney and writer in Charleston, serves as chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

“Bishop Guerry was gunned down in his office at St. Philip's Church by a disgruntled priest,” said Tisdale. “In writing this play, my goal was to bring to life the reasons for this now forgotten tragedy and to force us to confront the deep societal issues that continue to divide our communities in our own time.”

The play, produced by the nonprofit Unity Productions, will make its national premiere on Wednesday, July 16 at the Dock Street Theatre, with a gala reception at Hibernian Hall following the performance. Four additional performances are scheduled through Sunday, July 20. A cast of 15 actors will portray the many characters directly involved with both the bishop and his assassin.

“The knowledge that we in South Carolina had a bishop who was shot and killed had always haunted me,” said the Rev. Calhoun Walpole, who worked closely with Tisdale for more than two years to bring about the new play, published in summer 2013. Walpole is archdeacon of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina and vicar at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston. “Bishop Guerry was driven by a sense of racial justice that put him far ahead of his time and it cost him his life. The disgruntled priest who shot him, honestly held different views of justice,” she said.

“Truth in Cold Blood” is being directed by Richard Futch, who has directed more than 40 stage productions in New York, Connecticut, Florida and locally. Futch, a member of the Casting Society of America (CSA), has also served as casting director for more than 100 film and commercial projects, including most recently the Lifetime television series “Army Wives.”

Reservations and tickets for the opening night performance and gala are $75 per person. To purchase tickets, please email truthincoldbloodtix@gmail.com.

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