An evening with Simon Callow at Cast explores whatever happened to Orson Welles?
One of our most respected stage and screen stars, Simon Callow talks about his most recent book One-Man Band, the third volume in his epic study of the life and work of Orson Welles, in a special evening at Cast, Doncaster on Friday 1 April.
This new talk and reading explores what it was like to be around Welles in the centenary of his birth, and, with a precision rarely attempted before, what it was like to be him.
Combining a successful career on stage and screen with writing, Simon Callow is one of British theatre and film’s most familiar faces (and voice), including his portrayal of the much-loved character Gareth in the hit film Four Weddings and a Funeral. His engaging style and performances have received critical acclaim, no less for his writing and series of one-man shows or portrayals have tackled the works and biographies of Charles Dickens (whom he also portrayed twice in Doctor Who), William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and for over 25 years, Orson Welles.
One-Man Band is the third volume in Callow’s biographical study of Orson Welles, the star and director of the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast and Citizen Kane. Picking up after The Road to Xanadu (1995) and Hello Americans (2006), Callow’s new book and tour continues his comprehensive and penetrating detail into one of the most complex artists of the twentieth century.
With his own experience and forays across literature, theatre, opera, TV and film, Callow looks closely at the triumphs and failures of Welles ambitious one-man assault on one medium after another, of which his radical and original approach opened up new directions and possibilities.
The book begins with Welles’ self-exile from America, and his realisation that he could only function happily as an independent film-maker, a one-man band; by 1964, he had filmed Othello, which took three years to complete; Chimes at Midnight; and his sole return to Hollywood, Touch of Evil.
Along the way, Welles made inroads into the fledgling medium of television and a number of stage plays, and even ballet. Meanwhile his private life was as dramatic as his professional life.