Classic "War of the Worlds" debuts at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Orson Welles' classic "War of the Worlds" - this time set in Connecticut - will round out the well-received 2003-04 season of live radio dramas at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. A troupe of seasoned actors will re-enact the historic and all-to-real script on Friday, March 12, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 13, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

First performed in 1938, this tale of an alien invasion set off in New Jersey caused widespread panic among listeners not aware it was fictional and put the future American film icon Orson Welles on the map. While Welles insisted at the time that the radio play's effect on the populace was completely unintentional, he later admitted that staffers of the show, "Mercury Theater On the Air," fielded several panicky calls during the broadcast, but he let the show go on.

The audience for the Quick Center performance will certainly be a little more relaxed, but they will be in for a few surprises. Director Daniel Smith has updated the story, having the aliens land outside his hometown of New Haven and move down the coast toward New York City. In trying to make the tale believable, the original script gets quite specific about the aliens' progress and the best escape routes for the citizenry and Smith took that into account.

"They do make their way through Fairfield and there is mention of Fairfield University," he said cryptically.

Like other Quick Center radio dramas, this production features live sound effects, including the theramin, an instrument created in the 1920s that emits the perfect otherworldly whines for heat rays and other alien sounds. In addition, the team will record its own vinyl record of pre-made sound effects similar to the one used in the original broadcast.

Tickets are $15. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website, www.quickcenter.com. Media inquiries should be made to Dana Ambrosini, Fairfield University's assistant director of media relations, at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 4, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 208