Kilgallen/Jones

KILGALLEN/JONES
by Allison Page
directed by
EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy St, SF
March 9 – March 23, 2017

A new play by Allison Page that explores our timeless human desire to investigate and glamorize death, and the real and imagined consequences which follow.

Dorothy Kilgallen was a prominent journalist and newspaper columnist (the nationally syndicated The Voice of Broadway) and perhaps even more prominent as a panelist on the popular game show What’s My Line. As a journalist Dorothy covered some of the most famous crimes of the twentieth century and was the last person to interview Jack Ruby. Shortly after she announced that she knew who kill John Kennedy she died mysteriously. Her passing was initially deemed an accidental drug overdose but over time it has become a favorite topic of conspiracy theorists who are convinced that she was killed by either the government or others associated with the JFK killing.

In Kilgallen/Jones Dorothy is largely a distant, mysterious memory in 2017 until 19 year old Alexis Jones stumbles across her story and the questions which surround it. Following in the footsteps of Sarah Koenig, Alexis launches her own podcast seeking to solve the mystery of Dorothy’s life and death, and finds herself pulled into the murky history of the trailblazing, enemy-making Kilgallen, alienating everyone close to her. Living by what she believes to be Dorothy’s Code of Conduct, she gets closer than may be wise to unraveling one of conspiracy theorists’ favorite subjects — but at what cost? Part real life mystery, part fiction, Kilgallen/Jones explores our timeless human desire to investigate and glamorize death, and the real and imagined consequences which follow. Allison, the playwright, says the play is a “study of what it means to be human, and why we focus on unanswerable questions. I’ve found that weaving timeless struggles and realities with current events, pop culture, and speculations about the future all come into play in my current works and Kilgallen/Jones is the apex of that for me.”

One thought on “Kilgallen/Jones

  1. Thank you, Allison Page, for investing time, money and work into staging this play. I feel I must be niggly-piggly about these words in your blurb:

    “Her passing was initially deemed an accidental drug overdose . . .”

    Actually, the New York City medical examiner’s office did not classify the death as accidental. Instead of “accident” or “suicide,” one of the doctors chose “undetermined pending further investigation” for the category of death.

    I say “one of the doctors” because we don’t know if the medical examiner who certified Dorothy’s death was Dr. James Luke, still alive, or Dr. Dominick DiMaio. DiMaio was recorded talking on the phone in December 1995. He sounds baffled and annoyed that anyone would think he knew something about Dorothy’s death. “I never handled the case!” he exclaims.

    But the death certificate has DiMaio’s signature. Someone has typed on the document that he is signing it “for James Luke.” The typist also has spelled out the words “circumstances undetermined.” It was unusual for a typist at the NYC medical examiner’s office to actually spell out those words in the space that is reserved for the type(s) of drug(s) that have caused intoxication. I have seen other NYC death certificates for drug overdoses, including the one for Dorothy’s friend, clothing designer Anne Fogarty.

    A lot of people find it easier and less depressing to refer to the *official* cause of Dorothy’s death as an accidental drug overdose. Meanwhile, not only do we have the audio recording of Dominick DiMaio sounding baffled and annoyed, but we are bombarded with his son’s name. Vincent Di Maio is the forensic pathologist who testified for a long time during the murder trial for George Zimmerman and the late Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2013.

    Maybe your 19-year-old heroine can understand why I don’t have time or energy to find out why the father spells the name without a space (DiMaio) and the son includes the space (Di Maio). That way lies madness. I can confirm they are father and son. The son recently promoted his autobiography. Now it’s your turn. How much alienation can result from so many details, unanswered questions and undetermined circumstances?

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