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One of the most harrowing crimes committed in western North Carolina during the first half of the 20th century is the alleged murder in 1913 of two-year-old Roberta Putnam by her grandmother, Nancy Kerley, known as Nance Dude. Released from prison after 15 years hard labor, Nance Dude lived out her life rejected by her family. But as she never admitted her guilt or testified in court, her side of the story was never heard. In his acclaimed play, Gary Carden imagines what she might have said, combining folklore, some compelling historical evidence, and a playwright’s storytelling art. The much-performed play is on DVD, featuring a performance by Elizabeth Westall.
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