Lizzie Borden took an axeRemember that old grade school rhyme? Borden went on trial for the brutal murder of her father and stepmother in June 1893, but the jury acquitted her of the crime.

So did she or didnt she?

Canadian dramatist Sharon Pollock takes the real facts of Bordens life and household to explore this question in her playBlood Relations,the next production of West Virginia Universitys Division of Theatre and Dance, opening at the Creative Arts Center Friday (Nov. 3).

Blood Relationswill be performed beginning at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 10 in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre at WVU s Creative Arts Center (Evansdale Campus). There will also be two matinee performances at 2 p.m. Nov. 5 and 12.

This trial-by-theatre play makes the audience the judge and jury for this historic case.

Lizzie Borden was born into a Victorian world that severely limited the lives of most women, especially if they were single with few prospects for marriage. As the play reveals, Lizzies life and prospects appeared grim, to say the least.

Im saying that all of us are capable of murder given the right situation,said Pollock.

Blood Relationsprobes the world of Lizzie, her father and stepmother, her sister Emma, the maid Bridget, and a visiting uncle. The play demonstrates the growing tension within the home and the growing sense of hopelessness as Lizzie sees her options shrivel.

In Pollocks play, an actress friend visits Lizzie years after the murder and asksDid you, Lizzie?Lizzie responds by suggesting that they reenact scenes leading up to the murder. It is left to the audience to decide who did it and why.

Blood Relationsis directed by visiting professor Lee Blair, with scenic design by graduate student Mary Weisse, costumes by Jerrad Bierce, lighting by Kate Jaworski, and technical direction by Dan Wilson.

WVU students in the cast include Liza Skinner as Lizzie Borden; Cathy ODell as the actress friend; Rodney Creech as Andrew Borden; Toni Morris as Abbie Borden; Kellsye Carnill as Emma Borden; Aaron Keller as Harry Wingate; and David Menich as the defense and Dr. Patrick.

There will be two preview nights for this play, Wednesday (Nov. 1) and Thursday (Nov. 2), with tickets available at a reduced price.

In addition, anUpfront&Backstagepre-show presentation will take place prior to the Nov. 5 matinee. This presentation, which begins at 12:30 p.m., will allow the audience to meet the people behind the scenes, tour backstage, and visit the shops where scenery, props, lighting and costumes are created.

The presentation will begin in the lobby of the Gladys Davis Theatre and is free and open to the public.

Tickets for each of the 2006-2007 Division of Theatre and Dance performances are $15 for the general public and $12 for WVU faculty and staff, senior citizens, students and children. For tickets or more information, call the Mountainlair or Creative Arts Center Box Offices at (304) 293-SHOW. Special ticket prices are available for groups of 10 or more.