(Submitted photo)
(Submitted photo)

Theater fans and history buffs are invited to learn more about a famous local person while immersing themselves in a mystery set in the 1850s.

On Saturday, the Lanier Mansion will host Live History, a theater company from Ottawa, Canada that specializes in “site-specific interactive” experiences. 

Guests will be asked to play along with their guide as they make their way through a series of clues leading to a hidden treasure.

Live History owner and actress Jasmine Bowen will lead audiences on a tour of the home as “Mary,” the home’s housekeeper. 

The sad love story will be infused with the story of James Franklin Doughty Lanier, his family and his fortune.

Bowen said that she’s always had an interest in history and theater, and realized growing up that attendance to museums was on the decline. Now, she can do the work she enjoys while helping museums and specifically historic home museums.

In preparation for her work, Bowen begins researching the homes and surrounding areas on her schedule months in advance. During those months, she retools a pre-written script to work around each individual place. Shows may revolve around a different time period, or region and of course different people. 

This year, Bowen said that she will continue to tour North America for five or six months, with the remainder of the year set aside for research.

And though the show is part fact and part fiction, Bowen said that she and others at Live History “pride ourselves in historical accuracy.”

For the Lanier performances, Bowen has crafted the story to lead audiences to help the home’s maid solve a mystery involving a stash of hidden money on the property. Bowen said that in the time of Lanier, it was very common for people to hide their money and mistrust banks. So, while the hidden treasure is fiction, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Bowen’s character will assist audiences in solving the trail of clues by using Homer’s “The Odyssey” as a “cipher to crack the code.”

Performances will be at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Each show will last about an hour. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased at the Lanier Mansion gift shop, 601 W. First St, or by calling (812) 273-0556.