Real Melodrama

Director of a Washington theatre company Ann Norton will never be able to portray the drama of her life’s tragedies on stage as they are “too melodramatic” to be believed.

"Over the past two years, Ann Norton has lost -- in no particular order -- her husband, her father, her dog, her breasts and, very nearly, her theater company. And so, in the parlance of her craft, she is at the end of her story's second act, that pivotal moment when all seems lost for the heroine, and the audience at intermission stands dumbfounded in the lobby, talking of nothing, guiltily dreaming of fleeing before the Act 3 curtain. And flee it they would, if not for the nagging feeling that salvation might still be possible. Norton, the 56-year-old executive director of the Washington Stage Guild, knows that hers is a tale too melodramatic to ever actually play on the stage, however. Besides, a play involves conflict, ‘and there's really been no conflict in all this,’ she says. ‘There's just been dealing with this.’ [Her husband’s] body was eventually discovered by friends and fellow Stage Guild members after frantic phone calls from Norton asking that they check on her husband. ‘He was found alone in a locked house at the bottom of the steps, which meant that homicide [detectives] had to be called,’ she says, although an autopsy later concluded that MacDonald had indeed died from a severe concussion consistent with an accidental fall."

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