ME AND ORSON WELLES

A step back in time to the Mercury Theatre production of “Julius Caesar”

sean-martinfield-2-2.jpg
By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

ME AND ORSON WELLES is the most stylish film of 2009. Fans of the year 1937 – get ready for a visual feast. The cars, the clothes, the cocktail lounges, the Mercury Theatre. Back then, its Director, Orson Welles, is a household name and a recognized vocal artist. Families bundle about the radio, getting the willies just listening to Welles’ weekly series, “The Shadow”. But how will his New York audience react to the Mercury’s newest production, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar? It must have been a success. The following year the Company produced the legendary broadcast, War of the Worlds, scaring some folks into their bomb shelters. Orson will play “Brutus”, friend to and final assassin of the Roman emperor. It could tank. The production is set in fascist Italy. Enter the “Me” of the story, Richard Samuels (Zac Efron). He is suddenly swept out of obscurity by Mr. Welles and assigned to the minor role of “Lucius”. The clock is ticking on the Opening Night performance. This could be the start of something Big.

picture-8
CHRISTIAN McKAY – as Orson Welles

Christian McKay has an uncanny resemblance to the late Orson Welles. Director Richard Linklater captures his face in many a familiar angle from such classics as Citizen Kane, Jane Eyre, and The Magnificent Ambersons. Likewise, actor James Tupper as “Joseph Cotten”. The effect upon the screenplay by Holly Gent Palmo and Vincent Palmo Jr. is fabulous.

james-tupper-as-e2809cjoseph-cottene2809d
JAMES TUPPER and JOSEPH COTTEN

picture-1
ZAC EFRON – as Richard Samuels

Zac Efron is totally charming. The camera adores him. Cinematographer Dick Pope gives Efron the 1937 version of the “Star Treatment” – his close-ups are stunning, the lighting is always to his advantage. All Efron has to do is show up and speak. Film editor Sandra Adair reels-in a worthy performance.

Ben Chaplin as “George Coulouris” is a sure-fire candidate for Best Supporting Actor. His job is to play “Mark Antony”. The problem? Even after the theater has survived a nearly total wet-down – caused by Richard’s prank of triggering the emergency sprinkler system – the play may not open at all. The last ticket has been sold and the seemingly secure Coulouris is slumped in his dressing room on the verge of a total nervous breakdown. Orson will use his magnanimous personality to snap him back into sufficient sanity, along with a bottle of scotch to relax his tongue into iambic pentameter. Welles also gives him the usual b/s line about being “a natural actor”. He’s already pulled it on boy Richard – who seems to have fallen for it, even to the point of trying to horn-in on the director’s latest squeeze, production assistant “Sonja Jones” (Claire Danes). Ben Chaplin’s portrayal of nerves gone raw and crushing fears of inadequacy are frighteningly real. But the Wellesian Spell works. Coulouris delivers a magnificent performance, the play is a success, and Richard is fired as the curtain descends. Another cute boy, perhaps cuter, will step into the role of “Lucius” come 8:00 tomorrow night.

Welles is a charismatic manipulator and pushy bastard. Such is life, art, and politics at the Mercury Theatre. ME AND ORSON WELLES is a winner.

picture-4
Director Richard Linklater and Ben Chaplin (George Coulouris)

picture-3
ZAC EFRON (Richard Samuels) and CLAIRE DANES (Sonja Jones)

christian-mckay-brutuse28099-speech-e2809ccaesare2809d
CHRISTIAN McKAY (Brutus’ speech, Act III, scene ii)
“If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar’s, to him I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar
was no less than his.”

* * * * * *

Visit Seán on YouTube:
EMBRACEABLE YOU – On The Organ – At the Legion of Honor
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
Samson vs. Dalilah at AT&T Ballpark
DALILAH – In residence at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

BlogTalkRadio featuring Seán Martinfield – It’s all about singing and the 2009/10 San Francisco Opera Season. Download Carmen Milagro’s recent interview: Women and Legends Who Really Rock, 9/11/2009

See related articles and interviews:
THE NUTCRACKER – SF Ballet Is In Grand Form
CAMINOS FLAMENCOS – A Conversation with Yaelisa
A CONVERSATION WITH LUCIE ARNAZ – This Week At The Rrazz Room
9 GRAMMY® NOMINATIONS – To Telarc International and Heads Up International
SF SILENT FILM FESTIVAL – One Day Only, Saturday, December 12th
MARIACHI, BARBARA COOK, CIRQUE DE LA SYMPHONIE – Decking Davies Symphony Hall
PETER, THE WOLF, THE AX, A 5TH and HOLIDAY PIPES
HOB NOB ON THE HILL – Annual Gala at the Fairmont Hotel
TOY TRAINS – An Interactive Holiday Tradition at the Main Library
BACH’S CHRISTMAS ORATORIO – This Week at San Francisco Symphony
CARTIER – Exclusive Exhibit at the Legion of Honor
ON THE ORGAN – At the Legion of Honor
CHANEL ON MAIDEN LANE – San Francisco Boutique Opens
AMISH ABSTRACTIONS – Fabulous Quilt Exhibit Now at the de Young Museum
A.C.T. – A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Opens Thursday, December 3rd
LOWER 24th STREET IN THE MISSION – Gets The Artistic Touch
SF BALLET’S NUTCRACKER – Opens Tuesday, December 8th
STRAVINSKY’S SOLDIER’S TALE – At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
MEDIEVAL MOURNERS – Coming to SF City Hall
JANE MONHEIT – At The Empire Ballroom
JOHAN BOTHA – South African Tenor Makes SF Opera Debut As “Otello”
VERY POSTMORTEM: Mummies and Medicine – At the Legion of Honor
DAVID MAMET’S “NOVEMBER” – West Coast Premiere At A.C.T.
MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT – Live From The Nokia Theatre
EXOTIC EROTIC BALL – 30th Anniversary, Friday and Saturday At The Cow Palace
JAN WAHL – Action! Monday Night at New Conservatory Theatre Center
DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT – A Hit for San Francisco Opera
FLEETWEEK – Weekend Bash at Pier 39
FLEET WEEK – A Conversation with Airshow Pilot Tim Weber
JUAN DIEG FLÓREZ – To Sing “Tonio” in San Francisco Opera’s Daughter of the Regiment
RENT – Jonathan Larson’s Popular Musical Returns to San Francisco October 6th – 18th
CRITIC’S CHOICE: “Pulp Scripture”, Hélène Renaut, and teenage YouTube vocalist Jesaiah Baer
CD – THE PLANETS, A Mind-Blowing Meditation
SF OPERA’S “Abduction From The Seraglio” – The Trills and Frills of Captivity
SOUTH PACIFIC – Now At San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre
MACY’S PASSPORT 2009 – Glamour and Giving Galore in San Francisco
MAYA LIN – Artist Debuts “What Is Missing?” at CA Academy of Sciences
IL TRITTICO – Patricia Racette Debuts In Puccini’s Trio of One-Act Operas
IL TROVATORE – Opening Night A Stunning Success For San Francisco Opera
NOEL COWARD’S BRIEF ENCOUNTER – Opens September 16th At A.C.T.
VICTOR ARIMONDI – A Compassionate Eye
THE PALACE HOTEL – Ten-Tier Chocolate Cake For 100th Anniversary
TOM ORR – in “A Crass Act”
CD – ZUILL BAILEY and SIMONE DINNERSTEIN, Beethoven’sComplete Works for Piano and Cello
MAURICE SENDAK – At the Contemporary Jewish Museum
NICOLA LUISOTTI – Begins Inaugural Season As Music Director of SF Opera
THE EGYPTIAN (1954) – A Swords & Sandals Cultural Encounter at the de Young Museum
JULIE & JULIA – Pleasing To The Palate
DANCING WITH THE DRAG QUEEN STARS – Who will be crowned Champion?!?
TUTANKHAMUN – And The Golden Age Of Pharaohs
SALLY KELLERMAN – Hot Lips for Hot Hits at The Rrazz Room
DIANE BAKER – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
CAMERON CARPENTER – Up Close and Very Personal
RUBEN MARTIN – Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
WICKED – Now at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre
CHRISTINE ANDREAS – A Conversation with Beautiful Broadway and Cabaret Star
CD Review – REVOLUTIONARY, Cameron Carpenter, Organist
JENNIFER SIEBEL – A Conversation with Seán Martinfield
sean-martinfield-250-pixels-new-sentinel-mug.jpg
Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL
pat-murphy-social-diary-175

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

DO NOT FLY SWISS AIR – SENTINEL OPINION

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND NEWS MEDIA ARE AFRAID TO CONFRONT ISLAM – SENTINEL OPINION

STRAIGHT PEOPLE NEED FALL SILENT WHEN WE SPEAK – SENTINEL OPINION

we-support-israel-4.jpg buycott-israel-house1

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for our Email Newsletter




Comments are closed.