Off the Beaten Track
MARTIANS TO INVADE UCONN THIS HALLOWEEN IN “WAR OF THE WORLDS” ON WHUS
Student-Organized Performance Group to Re-Enact Classic 1938 Broadcast on Oct. 30
On the night of October 30, a student-organized group of local actors will annihilate the world before your very ears.
The independent group of largely amateur actors, made up of UConn students and members of the local community, will re-enact the classic 1938 radio drama, “The War of the Worlds,” live on campus radio station WHUS, 91.7, from 7 to 8 p.m.
“We thought this would be a great treat to give UConn and the listenership of WHUS for Halloween,” said Mark Lowe, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in philosophy, and the director of the show. “We crash-land an invading army from Mars onto Horsebarn Hill, and from there they devastate UConn and the countryside before marching on New York. And people can listen to it all happening live on their radio or streaming it over WHUS’s live stream on the Web.”
The broadcast is being performed under license from the estate of Howard Koch, the writer of the 1938 radio drama, which the group has adapted to modernize the dialogue and change the action from New Jersey, in the original, to Eastern Connecticut.
“The original broadcast was done in a world before television, before the Internet, before 9/11, and before the development of 21st century weaponry,” Lowe said. “So we’ve updated those aspects of it, and made some of the language in the script more contemporary.
“But the basic premise is the same: listeners tune in to The Mixed Review on WHUS as usual on Tuesday evening, only to slowly learn that the world is coming to an end,” he said. “This fall is a great time to do this show. It’s not only Halloween, but the planet Mars is in the news because of the new Mars rover, and the end of the world is on people’s minds because the Mayan calendar supposedly predicts that the world comes to an end this year.”
In the cast, playing multiple roles, are Anna Armagno, of Colchester; Timothy Corbett, of Storrs; Miriam Drew, of Mansfield Center; Edie Jones, of Storrs; Chris LaCour, of Mansfield; Lowe; Steven Mollmann, of Willimantic, a third-year UConn Ph.D. student in English; Michael Siddell, of Willimantic; Emma White, of Vernon, a fifth-year UConn Ph.D. student in molecular and cell biology; and James York, of Ashford. Ryan Caron King, a sophomore English major and comptroller of WHUS, and Trevor Morrison, a sophomore psychology major and assistant music director at WHUS, who are the hosts of WHUS’s The Mixed Review, play themselves.
The show is engineered by WHUS program director Jason McMullan, and co-produced by Lowe and Grant Steelman, of Mansfield Center, who also created the show’s sound effects.