Austin Pendleton's "Orson's Shadow" is a meditation on the possible clash of five legendary egos. Matt Shakman sensitively directs this exquisite production at the Black Dahlia Theatre.
Based on the very real and disastrous association between Orson Welles (Robert Machray) and Laurence Olivier (Jeff Sugarman), Pendleton's plot has New Yorker critic Kenneth Tynan (Andrew Ableson), bringing his idol Welles and Olivier together.
Hired by Olivier to direct Olivier and his lover, Joan Plowright (Geraldine Hughes), in Eugene Ionesco's "Rhinoceros," Welles finds his efforts sabotaged by the actor. At the same time, Welles neglects his concerns in Hollywood, and Olivier's wife, Vivian Leigh (Dreya Weber), flits nervously in the background as Olivier gets the courage to divorce her.
On Kelly Hanson's simple white and black set, with mirrors suspended behind translucent curtains, right and wrong are obscured. All the players, save the lowly stagehand Sean (Steven Klein), have fatal flaws that darken their talents.