Premiere New York Premiere
Production Language English
Country of Origin United States
Description Orson Welles's artistry, notoriously complex persona, and penchant for grand-scale mischief, serve as the jumping-off points for the SITI Company's War of the Worlds, a hallucinogenic, decades-spanning theater work exploring a 20th-century icon caught in the throes of his own magnificent excess.
Directed with Wellesian flair by avant-garde doyenne Anne Bogart (whose most recent work with BAM was as co-director of Laurie Anderson's Songs and Stories from Moby Dick) and written by PEN-winning playwright Naomi Iizuka, War of the Worlds takes an unsparing look at the relativity of truth. Intriguing parallels are drawn between the life of the master manipulator who set America on its collective ear with his ingenious, panic-inducing 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds (Invasion from Mars) -- a little stunt that revealed our shocking vulnerability to misinformation, our willingness to be duped -- and that of Citizen Kane's Charles Foster Kane, Wells's most famous protagonist. Bogart's deftly realized theaterical conceit is to cast the two in the same probing light. The equally potent realities of Welles and his cinematic doppelgänger are juxtaposed with artfully conceived flashbacks that mirror and play off the film's unforgettable images, conjuring a world true to the one inhabited by the tragically embattled artist.