2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘Waiting for Orson’ by Ian Leahy

“His name… He said he wants me to call him Orson. He won’t look like an alien. He said he’d try and find a person’s body willing to let him overtake it for a little while…”

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Waiting for Orson’s playwright found himself deep down the proverbial rabbit hole, following a curious multi-year journey to uncharted frontiers of his mind on a quest to figure out what is, actually, true about the core nature of science and spirituality.

In the depth of this journey, awaiting some theatrical gift from beyond, he found himself wandering aimlessly through a heavy downpour in Times Square when Waiting for Orson came surging through his mind almost fully-formed – every conversation, scene change, lighting cue. He spent the next two days locked in his hostel devising the first draft.

The result is a play about a curious idealist and his psychiatrist ex-girlfriend exploring the possibility of either enlightenment or insanity as he waits in New York’s Penn Station for a promised visit from an extraterrestrial. It examines tensions that can erode the bonds of family, friendship, and potential true love when an individual gives up everything in a quest to discover what is true about the universe. Yet the show also sets aside the big questions and celebrates the joy of being alive here and now, of being in love and the inside humor of longtime friends, with witty dialogue and acclaimed jazz vocals throughout.

Waiting for Orson’s initial performances in Michigan this June earned rave audience acclaim for the show’s unique portrayal of either mental illness or spiritual awakening. Viewers described it as “amazing,”“fabulous,” and “mesmerizing.” “I forgot I was watching a play,” said one.

The cast has largely worked together for years on university and community theater productions in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and is using this production to launch the new Instinct Theatre Company. Its mission is to produce new and re-imagined works that harness the instinctual creative force that connects us all, including shows like Waiting for Orson that emerge in a momentary flash of inspiration.

At Fort Fringe – The Shop
607 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
METRO:  Mt. Vernon Sq. 7th St. (Green/Yellow); Gallery Place/Chinatown (Red,Green/Yellow)

Erin Renee Morgan and Christopher Scott Leith in 'Waiting for Orson.'
Erin Renee Morgan and Christopher Scott Leith in ‘Waiting for Orson.’

FRI 7/12 at 10:45 PM
TUE 7/16 at 6:00 PM
SUN 7/21 at 1:45 PM
THU 7/25 at 7:45 PM
FRI 7/26 at 11:00 PM
SAT 7/27 at 3:00 PM


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