Orson's Shadow was a large one -- and it's spreading over the country. San Diego's Old Globe Theatre is the latest theatre to add Austin Pendleton's drama to its season schedule. This staging opens Sept. 16 on the Cassius Carter Centre Stage for a run through Oct. 21.
The play, Pendleton's third, concerns the 1960 London premiere of Ionesco's Rhinoceros, which starred Olivier and was directed by Welles. At the time, Olivier was going through a nasty divorce from his second wife, actress Leigh, who named actress (and, from 1961, Olivier's third wife) Plowright as co-respondent in her divorce filing. Tynan was London's leading dramatic critic and all-around enfant terrible, a friend of both Welles and Olivier (he would co-found the Royal National Theatre with Oliver in 1963), and a frequent sparring partner of Ionesco's.
Pendleton, best known as an actor (The Diary of Anne Frank, Finian's Rainbow) and director (The Runner Stumbles, The Little Foxes), is the author of two plays, Booth, a bio-drama which starred Frank Langella as legendary actor Junius Booth, and Uncle Bob.
Kyle Donnelly directs. Currently with the University of California, San Diego, she has served as associate artistic director at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC and directed for the Steppenwolf, Goodman, Lincoln Center and Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Starring in the production are Alexandra Boyd (Joan Plowright), Judith Chapman (Vivian Leigh), Jonathan Fried (Orson Welles), Nicholas Hormann as Laurence Olivier, Adam Stein as Kenneth Tynan and Scott Wood as Sean. Designing Orson's Shadow are David Ledsinger (sets), Ann Hould Ward (costumes), Ann Archbold (lighting) and Paul Peterson (sound). Raul Moncada is the stage manager.
The Old Globe Theatre is located in San Diego's Balboa Park next to the Museum of Man. Tickets are available by calling (619) 239-2255. The Old Globe is on the web at http://www.oldglobe.org.
-- By Christine Ehren
and Robert Simonson