BEATRICE, Neb. (KLKN) – Actor Josh Erikson has a deep understanding of the impact the Beatrice Six has had on the city. It’s where he grew up.
“It’s just something that lives underneath the skin of this community all the time,” Erikson said.
Erikson will be playing the role of Joseph White, one of the six people falsely accused of the rape and murder of Helen Wilson in 1985, in an upcoming play that chronicles the story of the Beatrice Six, titled Gage County, NE.
“Within moments of coming in for the audition, it became very clear that the people behind this production are approaching the story with just this incredible integrity, and almost like a reverence for the whole truth,” Erikson said.
Gage County, NE director Cecilia Rubino says the script for the play was put together using trial transcripts, public records, and input from the actors themselves, almost all of whom are from Beatrice or Lincoln.
“Their contributions and thoughtfulness in terms of the making of a creative piece has been extraordinary,” Rubino said.
After months of rehearsals, Rubino is excited to bring the story of the Beatrice Six to the big stage.
“People that are actually involved in the story are actually going to attend, and that feels like an unusual moment, to be able to share something that we hope will be a place of reconciliation and of healing,” she said.
Putting together the play didn’t come without its challenges. Jamie Ulmer, the managing artistic director of Community Players Theatre, where the play will be held, says some in the community were against revisiting such a painful story.
“It is an important story to tell,” Ulmer said. “It’s our story to tell and if anyone should be telling the story, it should be the people in the community that this has impacted.”
Tickets are on sale for Gage County, NE. The play runs at Community Players from August 13 to August 15. You can learn more about the play here.