He raised the sword above the sleeping woman and brought it down. Then, he used it upon himself. He collapsed on to the ground. There was silence in the theatre and then everyone jumped to their feet. The applause was thunderous as the curtains drew to a close. Then, they opened again and the applause quickly died when the audience realized that the two stars were still lying there. As they began to murmur among themselves, two stage hands ran onto the stage. While they examined the still bodies, a third stage hand signaled for the curtains to be closed at once.
It was later revealed that the thespian actor, Nolan Seton had discovered his wife’s infidelity and had switched the prop with a real sword. As she lay there in character appearing to be asleep, he plunged the sword into her. Death was instant. He then turned the sword on himself because in spite of her treachery, he still loved her. The tragedy was all over the media and the stage production was closed down. It was a shame because it had enjoyed a long successful run, received great critical acclaim and several Tony awards, including best actor for Seton. That night was to be his final performance before he retired.
For days the world reeled from the unforeseen departure of a legend. And the actor with whom his wife had an affair was blacklisted and his career ruined. He left London and no one knew what became of him. No one cared. It seemed like all of London turned out for Seton’s funeral and it was all over the news. No one showed up for his wife’s. She was buried in an unmarked grave.
Although he had murdered his wife in a fit of jealousy, the world saw Seton, not as a murderer but as a tragic Shakespearean hero who, in the throes of utter despair had been driven to commit a terrible act. They remained loyal to his memory and fan clubs opened all over England. Streets were named after him. Books were written about him, movies of his life were made or in the process of being made and websites created, showcasing all of his performances. He was romanticized, glorified and lauded. The sword with the green blade which he used in the play is now on display in the London Museum. The legacy of Nolan Seton lives on.
I wrote this story for the #writephoto Prompt at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. For more information, click Here.