Audience gets involved, helps decide outcome of new play

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If you’re a fan of true crime, a new play might just be for you, with a chance to even get involved. It’s all based on true events and historical writings and is called “The Trial of Nancy Clem.”

It’s about what is known as the “Cold Spring Murders,” which happened back in 1868 when two bodies were found along the White River in Cold Spring near Indianapolis.

Nancy Clem was eventually put on trial, accused of murdering her business partner and his bride. She was the first Hoosier woman to ever be put on trial for murder. 

The trial made national headlines and put then Brigadier General Benjamin Harrison in the spotlight as he tried the accused murderer Clem. 

Other than obviously bringing history to life and also keeping Hoosiers interested in Indiana’s past, Donna Wing and Charlie Hyde from the presidential site say the portrayal is important because it forced people back in the mid 1800’s to see women in a different light, a more sinister light. 

“Nancy Clem represented a different type of woman in 1868,” said Wing. “She was not a housewife. She was a mother but that wasn’t her role, she was a money lender and I believe this role, in this powerful position typically held by men, put her in a light that already contributed to biases against her during her trials.” 

“What it meant for Mrs. Clem, what it meant for future President of the United States Harrison and what it did to get people thinking about the different roles of women in our society,” said Hyde.

The Trial of Nancy Clem is at the Cook Theater Stage at Indiana Landmarks Friday and Saturday and then the next Friday and Sunday.

Juror tickets, where you become part of the action, are available.  However, there are only 16 juror tickets per performance but at the end you get to decide her fate since she was tried four times but never convicted.