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War of the Worlds at Stanford

Cast of War of the Worlds at the Nitery Theater at Stanford University
Cast of War of the Worlds at the Nitery Theater at Stanford University
Frank Chen

War of the Worlds


Stanford Repertory Theater’s War of the Worlds is a playful mastery of the ideas of reality and performativity, realism and illusionism juxtaposed with the amazing talents of the Stanford Theater and Performance department.

The play is a recreation of Orson Welles’ 1938 Halloween dramatization of H. G. Wells’ sci-fi novel about an invasion of the United Staes from Mars. The audience is seated in a radio studio audience and the actors are free to play around visually while the readers at the microphones and the sound effects people are seriously reading their lines. It’s all cutely amusing at first as cuts to hotel ballroom crooners and the primitive sound effects are visually revealed. You see the rare exposure of the means of production; not of the play, as the neither director nor the choreographer nor the playwright is seen. But the hidden techniques of radio are revealed in the play.

Things get much funnier and then much more serious. The original 1938 live radio broadcast terrified listeners who switched from a commercial break in Edger Bergen and Charley McCarthy's Chase and Sanborn Hour, tuning in after Orson Welles' initial disclaimer.

The excellent cast includes multiple parts by David Arrow, Dante Belletti, Noemi Ola Berkowitz, Monica Cappuccini, Don Demico, Thomas Freeland, Sarah Gage, Weston Gaylord, Elizabeth, Knarr, Courtney Walsh, and Brigitte Wittmer. They sing and dance with energetic and flawless timing, comically punctuating the end of the world.

Directed by Rush Rehm.

This play is packed with surprises!

Get your tickets early as they are selling out the shows.

War of the Worlds plays at the Nitery on Stanford campus until August 24th, 2014.