New interactive play at Oak Hammock Marsh lets audience solve decades-old Manitoba murder mystery

A new theatre production being performed at Oak Hammock Marsh on Friday pledges to take its audience through an immersive tour through a true crime tale from the 1930s.

Manitoba Mystery Company takes audience members on interactive tour through real cold case from 1930s

A new theatre production from the Manitoba Mystery Company being performed at Oak Hammock Marsh will put audience members into the story. (Kenji Dyck/Manitoba Mystery Company)

It's a real-life Manitoba cold case that you get to solve.

A new theatre production being performed at Oak Hammock Marsh, about 35 kilometres north of Winnipeg, next weekend pledges to take its audience on an immersive, interactive tour through a true crime tale from the 1930s.

Case at the Edge of the Woods is a product of the Manitoba Mystery Company, which adapts true crime stories from Manitoba's past.

The Winnipeg-based theatre company's latest production is based on the story of Lawrence Lees, a park warden at Riding Mountain National Park who was murdered in 1932.

"It really caught my eye when I first read it," said Miranda Moroz, co-writer and director of the show.

Lees and his wife had just returned to their home near Rossburn, Man., from their honeymoon, when he was fatally shot through a window.

At the time, Moroz said, police believed the murder may have been related to his job as park warden.

Not one to look the other way to poaching that was going on in the park, Lees likely made some dangerous enemies — "especially with a lot of people who were doing the hunting, who were those 'living on the edge' characters who didn't really care about the law," Moroz said.

To this day, the culprit has never been found — but Moroz promises the audience will have a chance to solve the mystery.

The play features a cast of outlandish characters, co-writer and director Miranda Moroz said. (Kenji Dyck/Manitoba Mystery Company )

When audience members arrive at Oak Hammock Marsh, they'll be immersed into the story's 1930s setting in Riding Mountain National Park, as their tour guides walk them through the play, meeting a cast of outlandish characters along the way, said the writer/director.

Though the play follows the story of Lees's murder, Moroz said there will be plenty of opportunities to improvise.

"Because it's interactive, we're really jumping on some of moments that come out," she said.

"The show might change on a dime in terms of what we're talking about, what we're focusing on."

The play will be performed at Oak Hammock Marsh on Sept. 14 and 15, with performances at 7 and 9 p.m. each night.

Tickets can be purchased online at the Manitoba Mystery Company website.


With files from Nadia Kidwai