Trinidad Tidings: Trinidad stages ‘Fate Worse than Death’ or ‘The Search for Brother Bill’

THE CAST From left, Susan Andrews, Dave Grover, Greta Daniels, Richard (Dick) Keiselhorst, Scott Leonhardt, Julia Hjerpe, Jim Willits, Tami Trump. Seated, from left, Stacie Marshall, McKinsey Leonhardt, Emilee Price and Linda Torres. Not pictured are John Bishop and Alison Silver. Submitted photo

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to concerns about COVID-19, the Trinidad Melodrama Company has cancelled its production until further notice.

Born in a Trunk, the Trinidad Melodrama Company, will revive the classic play A Fate Worse than Death or The Search for Brother Bill, on Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 21 at 2 p.m. in Trinidad Town Hall.  

The play has been performed twice in Trinidad since 1980. Written by Max Gilroy, with a musical score by Val and Thomas Phillips, the vaudevillian musical tale creates colorful characters and an entertaining story. 

The play is directed by Jayne Bauer, a Born in a Trunk veteran who has been involved with the zany productions since 1975.  

She has always helped with costume design, hair and makeup, and playing outrageously funny roles. This year she decided to turn her talents to directing.  

She has put together a talented cast with some veteran actors from past Born in a Trunk productions and some new faces. 

Set in the seaside village of Trinidad, California at the turn of the century, the play opens with the sweet Helen (Julia Hjerpe) wandering lost looking for her dear brother Bill (John Bishop) this leads her to Jadro’s (Jim Willits) saloon where she finds herself in the clutches of dirty Dawson (played with relish by Richard (Dick) Keiselhorst), the foulest fisherman that ever unbattened a hatch in Trinidad Bay.

Some characters are trying to help poor Helen while others have ulterior motives. It’s a rollicking good time in seven scenes.  

Will good prevail over evil? Will Helen find her brother? Will Bascom Murgatroyd (Alison Silver) the flint-hearted money lender nab Helen, or will Eric (Scott Leonhardt) win her heart? 

Will Liverpool Liz (Greta Daniels) win Bill’s heart? This is a traditional melodrama and the audience is encouraged to cheer for heroes and heroines and to boo and hiss at the villains. 

The production is sponsored by Trinidad Coastal Land Trust.  Wine, beer, non-alcoholic drinks will be available for purchase, as well as sweet and savory snacks to benefit the Trinidad Civic Club. 

Tickets are $10 and are available at Hair Unlimited in Arcata and online at

Email Patti at [email protected].



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