LOGAN — Nearly nine decades after her murder and subsequent trial, the legend of Mamie Thurman lives on in Logan County. Beginning this Friday, the story will come to life on stage in downtown Logan.
“Mamie,” presented by The Aracoma Story, Inc., tells the story of her secret love affair, her unsolved murder and the explosive trial that followed. Written by TAS secretary and Oceana native Joyce Robertson, the show will be presented at the Coalfield Jamboree in downtown Logan, a historic theater that was built around the time of Mamie’s death.
Mamie was brutally murdered, and the gory remains of her body were discovered June 22, 1932, on 22 Mine Road near Holden.
To this day, her true murderer remains a mystery. Was it Harry Robertson, her secret lover and landlord? Was it their handyman, Clarence, or even perhaps her husband, Jack Thurman? “Mamie” allows the audience to conclude their own answers.
“Mamie” was first presented to sellout crowds at the Liz Spurlock Amphitheater in Chief Logan State Park during the summer 2015 season. Diana O’Briant, TAS president and director of the show, said she is excited to stage the show at the Coalfield Jamboree for its historical context.
“We’re very excited to be at the Coalfield, and we’re very excited to be here in October, because those are the actual dates that the trial took place,” O’Briant said. “We are just, actually, straight across from the courthouse where the trial was going on. Mamie frequented the old Logan theater, so we are right here in her stomping ground.”
Savannah Richardson, who portrays Mamie in the show, said learning the role has allowed her to understand Mamie’s life more deeply.
“I’m very excited to present Mamie onstage and to represent who Mamie was as a person, because there’s a lot more to her than, I think, meets the eye and what a lot of people assume from her and this show really goes in depth about the people around her and why she was the way she was,” Richardson said.
“It’s been very eye-opening – honestly, portraying Mamie was a big shock to me,” she added.
“Truthfully, I saw the show a couple of years ago, and I never would have imagined that I would get to have the opportunity to portray such a woman ... it’s been a lot of fun getting to know the character and thinking of the different scenarios that she went through and what really happened to her, and what I think might have happened to her, and what the other cast members think of her as well.”
Chris Wood, who portrays Harry Robertson, said learning to play the role was a bit of an uphill climb because of who he thinks Robertson was as a person.
He also believes Robertson was at least partially responsible for the murder.
“I don’t like Harry,” Wood said. “I think he’s very selfish, and I think he wants what he wants when he wants, and one of the things that he wants is Mamie. At the same time, he wants to hold onto his marriage, but he realizes he can’t have his cake and eat it, too. So when he can’t have what he wants, he resorts to some very violent measures, I think. If he’s not completely responsible for the murder of Mamie, I think he’s partially responsible for the death of Mamie.”
“Mamie” will open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. The show will be presented over three weekends, Friday-Sunday, Oct. 4-6, 11-13 and 18-20.
Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday shows are matinee performances beginning at 3 p.m.
Advance tickets are available locally at Aracoma Drug in Chapmanville, Pic Pac at Man and Gatti’s Pizza in Logan.