GREENVILLE — The Greenville High School Theater Department presents the classic Orson Welles Radio Play “The War of the Worlds” live onstage in a truly unique performance 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Greenville Performing Arts Center.
GHS Auditorium Manager Chris Chapman said, “We’re really pleased to close out the 2011-2012 season with this special production. GHS students have risen to the challenge of adapting Orson Welles infamous 1938 radio play into an entertaining and chilling night onstage.”
And what an adaptation it is. This production, co-directed by Larry Moss, takes students and throws them into a Martian invasion.
Alicia Gatchell, Andrew Geer and Levi Kidder set the tone of the production as radio announcers that weave the story of a mysterious cylinder that has fallen from the sky in Grover Mill, N.J., that unleashes terror on the countryside. Carly Dukes does a riveting turn as Carla Phillips, the onsite reporter who witnesses the Martians’ first steps on Earth. Sam Moss grounds the production as Richard Pierson, an astronomer who is the radio stations expert who is also dragged into the Martian invasion.
Soon, the cast of 15 is delivering haunting messages from a government under siege, taking us on the front lines as artillery units duel with Martian war machines, and laying down the groundwork that makes the audience wonder if the Earth will survive the night.
The 16th cast member in this spectacular production is the sound design of Greenville alumnus Tim Schmidt, which is executed by Deserai Kent and Emily Mulder. Teletype machines bring in news flashes, heat rays explode, and wars are waged in an exciting and eerie depiction that sets the imagination loose on the terrors of the Martian war machine.
Distinct lighting is very effective as announcers step forward, and the acting ensemble continues the action in the back. It is a production unlike anything seen before on the stage at Greenville and should not be missed.
“Our goal was to take audiences back to the days of radio, where a broadcast would appeal to your imagination,” Chapman said. This highly effective production does just that, letting the audience fill in the blanks of what is happening to the cast as the hour long show progresses.
Funds raised from ticket sales and donations go to the Auditorium Renovation Project at Greenville High School. All tickets are $5.