By Emily Willis
Get ready – a Martian invasion is taking place right in Blowing Rock! Just in time for Halloween, join the Green Park Inn on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. to witness Ensemble Stage perform a unique adaptation of Orson Welles ‘War of the Worlds’ radio drama.
H.G. Wells wrote the novel War of the Worlds, which was published in 1898. Orson Welles then adapted the novel into a radio drama that first aired on Oct. 30, 1938. The story is about martians attacking Earth. In Welles adaptation, the first two-thirds consists of a series of stimulated news bulletins.
In reaction to these mock news bulletins, listeners broke out into mass panic. Welles’ adaptation is famous for causing the panic in radio listeners who weren’t aware that the broadcast was a radio drama adaptation of H.G. Wells novel, War of the Worlds.
See how the original broadcast went out over the air waves and caused panic in towns all across the country! Ensemble Stage will be performing the original script, with one exception. The epicenter of destruction will take place right here in Blowing Rock! Viewers will be able to see and hear actors perform the script, complete with sound effects.
“We are recreating the sound studio that Welles’ adaptation took place in back in 1936,” says Gary Smith, the artistic director of Ensemble Stage. “The live action will allow the audience to really see how it all played out. We’ve also had a lot of people come in to the performance and close their eyes while we perform this. It gives the audience a chance to rely only on their imagination, something that doesn’t happen too often today.”
Ensemble Stage has performed ‘War of the Worlds’ in 2009 and 2010. They decided to bring it back this year due to public demand. “We were going to hold off on performing it again for the anniversary of it in 2018, but we ultimately decided to bring it back for the people who enjoyed it in years’ past,” says Smith.
“Our adaptation is unique because it takes pace here in Blowing Rock,” says Smith. “The action takes place in Echo Park, Charlotte, Gastonia, and other surrounding areas that we are all familiar with. Also, performing it in the Green Park Inn is a plus, due to it’s historical impact on the community.”
- Paul Haas (professional stage actor): Announcer/Wilmuth/Observer/Operator #2/Operator #5
- Derek Gagnier (professional stage and voice actor/ASU theatre professor): Orson Welles/Pierson
- Bill Fisher (News Director for Curtis Media Boone area radio stations): Announcer #2/Commander
- David Jackson (Executive Director Boone Area Chamber of Commerce/Former voice of App. State Football): Phillips/Captain/Gunner/Operator #4
- Matt Denney (Theatre Major at ASU): Announcer #3/Smith/Policeman/Officer/Operator #1
- Chandler Walpole (professional voice actor and regional stage actor): Secretary/Operator #3/Stranger
The performance will be about an hour long and is suitable for all ages! Tickets are $16 for adults/seniors and $10 for kids 16 and under. For more information, visit Ensemble Stage’s website.