“War of the Worlds,” originally a book by H.G. Wells, has since been performed by the Mercury Theatre on the Air as a radio production. Now, the Concordia College Theatre is taking the radio adaptation and placing it onstage to reenact the famous night that shattered radios all over the nation in 1938. The night when aliens attacked the state of New Jersey, at least that was what they had heard.
Four performances of the first box office production of Fall 2022 are set to take place on September 29 through October 1.
Auditions happened during the first full week of classes leaving a little less than a full month to learn lines, learn blocking and rehearse. Although it was a challenge, the cast and crew were asked to bring the Mercury Theatre on the Air to life. Their goal is to make the audience feel like they’re in a 1938 radio studio.
Hailey Crowe is in her junior year and is currently the stage manager for the War of Worlds production. Since about halfway through her high school experience, she has been eager to get her hands on more stage managemental roles. “Visually seeing the foley artists making the sound effects, because if you just listen to it, you’re like, “oh, how did they make that crash sound?” and then you see Isaac banging something against something else,” Crowe said.
With a radio show, the sound effects are made by a foley artist. Caden Nestler, the foley stage manager, has been tasked with finding the props and different items to make random sounds.
“I have done sound design before, but never fully in front of an audience,” Nestler said.
Not only will the audience get the chance to listen in to the sound effects, but they will also see the actors on stage making them.
In order to make all of the different sounds on stage, he has to get creative and be thoughtful about the multi-functional purpose of an object. Included in the list of prop items includes a heatwave made from Plexiglas. Caden said it has been fun “banging things against other things.”
Another level of acting is being asked of the cast. Voice Acting is something that most of the cast has never encountered before. The play itself was meant to be aired on the radio, so the cast is straying from the typical style of full body-movement acting to focus on the vocal aspect of acting.
As a first-year student at Concordia, EllyAnne Foner’s introduction to the theatre is War of Worlds. She noted that voice acting has been a challenge. Foner said, “If you close your eyes, you should be able to get the whole thing.”
The costume design is a full period piece. With one look at the outfits, the audience can be taken back to the year 1938. Brown suits, bowties, and suspenders are making a comeback at the end of September.
Junior Carlos O’Ryan is excited to perform in a straight radio play. Being a part of theater since his freshman year, O’Ryan has gotten to play many different characters over the past couple of years. For this production, he will be portraying the characters Orson Welles and Professor Pierson.
“I grew up knowing the “War of the Worlds,” this classic alien invasion story, but I talk to a lot of people who have not ever heard of it,” O’Ryan said.
He can’t wait to share his love of this particular alien invasion story with not only the rest of the cast but with the entire campus.
Tickets can be either ordered online or purchased at the performance. Students can attain tickets free of charge.