Ensemble Stage to Perform Radio Adaptation of HG Wells’ Classic, War of the Worlds, Oct. 25-26

Published Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 11:00 am

Close your eyes and imagine…

We interrupt this performance to bring you a special bulletin: Volcanic disturbances? Jets of blue flames? Red discs swirling?

Clear the fields, the Martians have landed. Or have they? Or will they?

Ensemble Stage, the professional theatre located in the Historic Banner Elk School, will perform a radio adaptation of HG Wells’ classic novel War of the Worlds. To celebrate Ensemble Stage’s 10th anniversary, Gary Smith, artistic director, has put together an amazing radio show with smooth scene changes, eerie sound effects, and a cast of local ‘celebrities’ that will make you stop, listen, and ponder the possibilities. You will hear the startling report of mysterious creatures moving forward…Oh No, are they at the field, the pond, the mill?

And an added bonus, we can see and hear our neighbors and friends portraying eight of the play’s twenty-one characters, as well as handling much of the sound effects duties.  Three notable cast members are Tom McMurray, David L. Tate, and Derek Gagnier.

Tom McMurray has proudly appeared in four Ensemble Stage radio plays. He is a practicing attorney in the High Country, a two-time Emmy award winner having spent more than 20 years working with ABC and NBC and is on the board of the Banner Elk Tourism Development Authority. Although modest about his professional accolades and acting and staging talents, Tom’s great sense of humor emerges when he quips “I have a face made for radio. ”

David L. Tate Comes to Ensemble Stage with a rich and varied background. You may know Tate as the executive director of Yellow Mountain Enterprises or as a former mayor of Banner Elk, or as director of the community mental health center for Avery County. Did you know that in addition to his graduate studies in clinical psychology, Tate studied acting at UNC Chapel Hill? He refers to acting as his “career rebellion “. And here he is, at Ensemble Stage, once again stretching those acting muscles, and feeling quite at-home. Some 40+ years ago, as an eighth grader at the Banner Elk school, Tate wrote, directed and acted in a play on the same auditorium where he will appear in War of the Worlds. Welcome back ‘actor’ David L Tate.

Derek Gagnier has been with Ensemble Stage since its inception in 2009 when he played Orson Welles in in the theatre’s first production of War of the Worlds. He is delighted to be celebrating the 10th anniversary, again playing Welles. Gagnier has been acting professionally for over 40 years and is an associate professor and head of the BA theater performance major at Appalachian State University. “I have three students in this cast and I get to see them in their first professional experience. Watching them makes me work even harder.”

Orson Welles and his radio actors interrupted CBS programming 81 years ago to report that our planet had been invaded. The play, sometimes described as science fiction, scientific romance, influential and evolutionary remains unforgettable because if it’s historical significance and media risk-taking. Smith, with his creativity and vision, brings the excitement, wonder and awe of this significant drama to Ensemble Stage.

You will see and hear the actors perform, complete with sound effects being executed live on stage. The adaptation follows the script, but with a few interesting twists and turns. Come by and hear where the ‘attacks’ happen in 2019. Do the letters BE give you a clue?

Ensemble Stage presents the radio play War of the Worlds October 25 and 26 at the Historic Banner Elk school, Hahn Auditorium.

185 Azalea Circle SE, Banner Elk, NC. Adult tickets are $16 (plus tax), kids, 16 and under are $10 (plus tax). For more information call the box office at 828-414-1844 or visit us online at ensemblestage.com

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