THE DESPONDENT DIVORCÉE
Written by Casey Jay Andrews & Nathan Foad
Composed by Laura Trundle & Dominic Sewell
Directed by Casey Jay Andrews & Laura Trundle
A Psychological Thriller featuring the bittersweet poetry of Sara Teasdale and live Jazz music.
A 1940s New York Hotel spirals through a storm of media speculation following the 8th storey suicide leap of a desperate young woman. The Despondent Divorcée is inspired by the lyrical poetry of Sara Teasdale, and the infamous 1942 photograph of the same name by I. Russell Sorgi.
In a society where mass-media glamorises tragedy, we begin to question the accuracy of our moral compass; have we become desensitised to suffering? The audience enter the Kendrick Hotel’s hauntingly desolate Jazz bar and witness flickers of the fractured final days of Frances Dupree. They meet Junior Reporter Robert Maloney, who pieces together her last moments through the fragmented accounts of the Hotel’s residents. But it is more than just her story that is unveiled; the shameless exploitation behind a ferocious media circus is called to question in this unsettling tale of identity, morality, and disgrace.
“The amount of sensational and gratuitous imagery available globally through the vast range of mass media is diluting and desensitising media messages, meanings and their subsequent effects” (Lesley Murray PHD).
The play has been constructed via investigations of the media response to four case studies of suicide: Kate Morgan, Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego 1892; Sara Teasdale, New York 1933; Mary Miller, New York 1942 (photograph by I. Russell Sorgi); and “The Falling Man” World Trade Centre 09/11. “The Despondent Divorcée” examines the psychology of its characters as they struggle to grasp the reality of their situation. As an ‘unreliable narrator’, Robert Maloney’s morality is scrutinised while he grapples with the question: can the exploitation of tragedy ever be justified? As events unfold, the audience meet a question of their own: can Maloney be trusted?
"AN INTRIGUING AND STYLISH
NOIR PERIOD PIECE...A THOUGHT
GRIPPING FILM NOIR PLOT,
& GORGEOUS MUSIC"
"TRULY INSPIRED... WELL-CONCEIVED, WELL-SCRIPTED,
WELL-ACTED AND BEAUTIFULLY
DRAWN... MUST SEE"
Casey Jay Andrews
Sam T McKee