The Woodward story starts bad and grows increasingly, tragically worse. Radio Actress Ann Eden has an affair with Woodward Sr., marries his son Billy, accidentally kills Billy, then commits suicide after literary darling Truman Capote writes a fictionalized story portraying Ann as a fake, a liar, and a murderer. Billy’s family had already viewed her as trash, beneath them, and a black widow, so his mother very publicly expressed her lack of sadness over Ann’s passing. With time, both of Ann’s sons eventually went the way of their mother, each jumping out of windows in New York City.
It reads like a classic Greek tragedy.
Naturally, I had to incorporate that into Ann’s story. I took a bit of an unusual reference for the title on this one ... “A curse of the house of Atreus” from The Oresteia. The Woodward story develops in a similar fashion, with each untimely death leading to another. Ann covers a lot in this story, and from what I can tell, she tells the truth, so I don’t have to do a lot of additional explanation or background when it comes to her actions and motivations.
I do, however, want to touch on the costume choices for this one. The lingerie in this story is a beautiful spider web set handmade by Bettie Fatal. It’s delicate, luxurious, and stunning, but, like Ann, can still carry “black widow” connotations. Nothing here quite matches the way it “should,” a nod to the backlash Ann once received for once wearing the wrong color shoes with an evening gown. She was said to be both beautiful and stylish, but in the eyes of Billy’s mother, the stylishness was gaudy and distasteful and no one that pretty could possibly be a good person.
So while the clothing for Ann’s costumes is beautiful, there’s a strong element of traditional “trashiness” to her look. You’ll notice the clear heels that could be perceived as “Cinderella” or “stripper,” and that falls in line with perceptions of Ann — both those of other people and the way she saw herself. She was caught between two worlds, neither of which she fit into.
She wanted to fit in so badly, to belong, that she lost her sense of self, and tragically, it destroyed both her and her family.