The end of the world is near. New York City barely exists. Nikola Tesla sits alone in the crumbling ballroom of the once mighty Grand Gotham Hotel, where he famously resided in the last years of his life. One by one, other residents join Tesla and act out his dreams, a ritual circus of life, conveyed in a series of 27 vignettes, mixing elements of spectacle, absurdity, avant-garde film, blackout comedy, and musical theater. In Tesla’s mind, the darkened space contains many worlds and times—the Croatian mountains of his childhood, the Paris and Manhattan of his heydays, the limitless future of his visions, all arrayed about the performance space so that the audience can move freely around and between them as they appear, emerging from darkness and silence as if called from the beyond.
A striking figure—tall, elegant, grandiloquent—Tesla was a brilliant inventor whose view of the physical world was imbued with mystical spirituality. He once dined daily at Delmonico’s among the barons of Wall Street who profited mightily from his inventions. As his dreams of the future were thwarted by the powers of money and government, he gradually broke down and retreated into a parallel world of his imagination, watching over the pigeons in Bryant Park, especially the one he said was his true love, “a creature of purest white, with silver traces on her wings.” His last years were spent in Room 3327 of the hotel, where he died in 1942.