Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles

Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles made its debute at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004, and fortunately its back this summer. Created by Emily and Christian McKay, it's a brilliant insight into the humanity, humor and achievement of one of theatre and film's most dazzling figures.

For those who may not know Welles' work, he is most known for the infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast on Halloween night in 1938. His Citizen Kane is embraced by many as perhaps the finest film ever made--and almost destroyed forever by Kane's real-life archetype, newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Welles preferred making art to making money--though much of the money he did make went into his own film-making pursuits.

Christian McKay's performance is a rare gift for theatre lovers. He is unpredictable, charming, dangerous, fiery, elegant, unforgettable. He captures' Welles' rhythms and mannerisms with astonishing grace--making them his own.

The writing, direction and simple scenic design is as seamless as the performance. Though Welles was larger than life, in an hour and twenty minutes, Rosebud captures his Falstaffian essence. I did not intend to "blog" today--but this was an important theatre event. For me, as a long time theatre goer--it will be one of the events--a magical experience. And one that asks some big questions about the nature of creativity, politics, personality, and more. What more could one ask for?

Find a link to a clip of Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles at

And--the production may come to the US and Birmingham in the near future. I urge you to see it if you can.


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