Caden Cotard
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Caden Cotard

Synecdoche, New York

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About Him

Living… with a mysterious illness. Whether his day begins with disturbing urination or uncontrollable convulsions, one thing is clear: Caden is not well. And to make matters worse, his relationship with his wife Adele is on shaky grounds. Their daughter Olive is still a small girl, and her life would be devastated by her parents’ separation. Caden instead focuses on his work. He is currently directing a stage adaptation of Death of a Salesman, but he has some bigger ideas in mind…

Profession… stage director. Caden is the recipient of a “Genius Grant” and he wants to do something big with it. His plan is to build a replica of New York City inside a hangar and create a play that is constantly happening, and constantly evolving.

Interests… plays; his health (or lack thereof); and impending death, as both a concept and impetus to surpass his prior work. As he explains to his cast and crew, “We’re all hurtling towards death, yet here we are for the moment, alive. Each of us knowing we’re going to die, each of us secretly believing we won’t.”

Relationship Status… married. His wife Adele has her own artistic endeavors. She creates microscopic drawings, and she’s beginning to get some recognition, which is putting further strain on her relationship with Caden.

Challenge… surviving to see his magnum opus come to life. He won’t show his great work to an audience until it’s perfect; that’s just the way he is. Unfortunately he quickly realizes that his greatest work might take him an entire lifetime to perfect – and given his health, Caden’s “lifetime” might not be long enough.

Personality… sickly, morbid, and neurotic. Caden is often depressed. Even when things are going well in his life, he can’t seem to escape the ever-looming presence of death. Though his mysterious ailments don’t seem to be killing him, they certainly put a damper on his enjoyment of life.

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