Martians will attack the campus this week in the Department of Theatre and New Dance’s production of “War of the Worlds.”
The short play is based on the classic science fiction novel written by H.G. Wells in 1897. “War of the Worlds” became infamous with Orson Welles’ 1938 radio show adaptation, which told the story by having a radio program ‘interrupted’ by breaking news of the Martians landing and attacking in New Jersey. The show created a panic across the United States.
“It’s pretty much the first great hoax that happened in this country,” says Professor Bernardo Solano, who is directing the performance.
The Department of Theatre and New Dance’s production is based on the Welles’ 1938 radio show adaptation written by Howard Koch, but “with a contemporary 2013 overlay that we sort of dreamed up,” he says.
Although it’s not the Steven Spielberg-Tom Cruise big-screen version, “visually, it’s still interesting to watch,” Solano says.
Valerie Lopez, a sophomore theatre major who plays several roles in the production, says she enjoyed the set designed for the play because it allows the cast to be out among the audience. Orson Welles’ production was brilliant, she adds.
“It wasn’t his intention to have people believe this was really happening. It was a story he was telling to the listening audience,” Lopez says. “Stories like this happen every day, whether it’s on the news, radio, online or by mouth. It’s just the amount of people believing in this actually happening that can change the world.”
“War of the Worlds” will be performed at the University Theatre, Building 25, at the following times and dates:
- 10 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27
- 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28
- 8 p.m., Friday, March 1
- 8 p.m., Saturday, March 2
- 2 p.m., Sunday, March 3
Tickets are $10 for Cal Poly Pomona faculty, staff and students and $15 for general admission. Tickets are available by calling (909) 869-3800 or by purchasing online at https://classcsupomona.tix.com.
(Photo: A scene from the “War of the Worlds” production by the Department of Theatre and New Dance.)