WHAT Stages a Fun Production of "Orson's Shadow"

Christopher Chisholm steals the show as Orson Welles
Phillip Hays, Christopher “Chiz” Chisholm, Abigail Solomon, Orson’s Shadow – Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (Photo by Michael & Suz Karchmer)

Last week we enjoyed a Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater production of "Rhinoceros".  This week we re-visit that play in a roundabout way as we enjoy "Orson's Shadow" -  a play written around actors rehearsing for a 1960 performance of Rhinoceros.

Orson's Shadow is based on true events.  Set in 1960 London, Orson Welles is directing a production of Rhinoceros, starring Lawrence Olivier and Joan Plowright.  Olivier's marriage to Vivien Leigh is ending and he's entering into a romance with Plowright.  

In the words of WHAT's PR staff... "..it is the rehearsal process that brims with absurdity as titanic personalities wrestle the muse in this witty and incisive depiction of drama, both on and off-stage.

We were truly engaged by Christopher Chisholm's performance as Orson Welles.  Welles was larger than life in every way and "Chiz" nailed the role.  His movement, booming voice, and gigantic gestures drew us in completely.  Here we had an aging giant of his industry who was fighting the fact that he had done his best work at 26 years old and was now reduced to trying to raise money for his next project.  Chiz projected that with empathy.

Kelsey Torstveit was a dynamic, fresh-faced Joan Plowright, while Abagail Rose Solomon played a hauntingly beautiful, sympathic Vivien Leigh.  

The costuming was excellent and set the tone for 1960.  Plowright's dress in her first scene was especially lovely.  

Comedy is a fickle thing over time but Austin Pendleton's dialogue, written in 2000, flows fresh and funny in 2019.  The punch lines receive appropriate chuckles from the audience at every turn.

Orson’s Shadow is directed by Brad Dalton and runs through September 29th. 

We thoroughly enjoyed the WHAT production and are pleased to recommend it!

If You Go

Orson's Shadow
by Austin Pendleton

Shows: 2 p.m. Sept. 15, 21 & 29; 8 p.m. Sept. 14, 17, 20, 25 & 26

Tickets: $25-$39 (student and senior discounts available)
Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater
2357 Route 6, Wellfleet
508-349-9428 | www.what.org


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