Comprised of a series of vignettes and interrelated scenes, presented with a minimum of props and scenery and flowing together with resourceful theatricality, the story of Richard Cory is that of a wellborn young man who seems to have everything the world can offer. He is handsome, rich, successful in his law practice, respected in the community and an idealized husband and father. And yet, as we move ahead through the various episodes of his life, it is apparent that his good fortune has also brought him growing dissatisfaction and unease. He is disturbed by the crassness of the changes taking place in his city; by the eroding standards of his lifelong friends; by the alienation he feels from his wife and children. Seeking fulfillment he takes a mistress; he becomes involved in good works; he tries to expand his intellectual capacities—while, throughout, continuing to protect the "good name" which family and position have thrust on him. He is, and must always be, a gentleman. But perhaps, as the play so poignantly suggests, it is this very fact that leads Richard Cory, the glittering paragon so envied by all, to go home one fine day and put a bullet through his head.
First presented by New York's Circle Repertory Company, this very original and perceptive play uses the sense of the famous E. A. Robinson poem as a catalyst for exploring the wellsprings of a man's life—and death. "…Gurney writes with grace and conviction…" —Cue Magazine. "What is particularly wonderful about the play is that it allows the actors enormous latitude…With this production, Circle adds another intelligent new American play to its already impressive roster." —Women's Wear Daily.