Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Zemfira Stage Lost Eden: The Magnificent Welles

By • Jul 2nd, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Zemfira Stage’s production of Lost Eden: The Magnificent Welles [MP3 3:39 1MB].

Laura: Thursday night we saw the East Coast premiere of Lost Eden: The Magnificent Welles performed by Zemfira Stage in Alexandria, Virginia.

Mike: Lost Eden: The Magnificent Welles is a play by Marcus Wolland. It’s the story of Orson Welles. Orson Welles shares the story of his life with us as he’s writing his autobiography while he’s in Rio working on a show, It’s All True. In between the stories he shares with us, he makes calls back to the United States so he can figure out what the heck the studio’s doing to his movie The Magnificent Ambersans.

Laura: Lost Eden: The Magnificent Welles had one actor, Jay Tilley. Jay did an excellent job in this role. He really took on the mannerisms and characteristics of Orson Welles. Orson Welles was not he nicest person in the world. He talked about remembering some of the things he did that were probably not the nicest to people,yet he didn’t really seem bothered by it. He said he was good at magic and mesmerizing people into doing what he wanted. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. but Jay did a very good job and it was a very good performance.

Mike: It was a pretty good performance. I didn’t know anything other than the basics of Orson Welles, having seen him on tv a few times in the past through old TV shows. The War of the Worlds episode of the radio scare of the 30’s. I knew the basics. Before we saw the show I read the Wikipedia page which is a really long page of the history of Orson Welles. I kind of knew the basics going in. This show did flesh that out a bit.

I really didn’t like Orson Welles. He was kind of a mean person. I liked the stories he was telling. Jay was a very good story teller. The instance where the show was being censored so they had to move the show to another theater. That was a great story, I really liked that. There wasn’t a lot of motion on the stage. Jay was kind of rooted to one spot for long stretches. That made it a little boring and not much fun to watch.

Laura: The set was a simple set. It took place in a hotel room in Rio De Jenero. You had a table and chair. A place for Orson Welles to keep his liquor very available. A telephone. The rest of the time he sat behind the desk. Every once in a while he did get up and move as he was expounding about a story or remembering something from his past. It was an effective set. I also thought the lighting was good, too.

Mike: There were several lighting effects used throughout the evening. A spotlight focused on Welles at different points and went dark at different points. It was quite effective. It did contribute to the mood of the show. The lighting and the sound design was done by Herb Tax.

Laura: After the show we were able to speak with Jay Tilley and Zina Bleck, who was the director for this production. That interview will be posted shortly.

Mike: Lost Eden: The Magnificent Welles runs about an hour and forty minutes with one fifteen minute intermission. It’s playing through Sunday, July 15 at the Lyceum in Alexandria Virginia. Fridays and Saturday at 8 pm. Sundays at 7:30 pm.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Orson Welles: Jay Tilley


  • Producer, Co-Director: Zina T. Bleck
  • Co-Director, Stage Manager: Herb Tax
  • Lighting Design, Sound Design: Herb Tax
  • Publicity: Harry Kantrovich, Jay Tilley
  • Technical Crew: Helen McCarthy, Alexa Poe, Daryl Poe
  • Box Office: Margaret Snow
Tagged as:

This article can be linked to as:

started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

One Response »

  1. Thanks Mike and Laura for posting this review and for your overall kind words. This show is clearly not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s an absolute pleasure and privilege for me to perform. I hope theatregoers will visit us at The Lyceum in Alexandria and spend an evening with one of Hollywood’s most revered and most controversial legends. And I would just like to add special thanks to Herb and Zina. This has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my acting career thus far, and I could not have done it without them, nor could I have accomplished this feat without the support of my wife, Melissa, and my closest colleagues and friends. My cup truly runneth over to all who have supported me in this endeavor.