The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

Written by Orson Welles
Adapted from the novel by H.G. Wells
Directed by Dr. Robert Vrtis and Jeff Dintamin
Music direction from Professor Brooke Joyce
Marty's Cybercafe
October 31st, 2018

Press Release

Luther College's visual and performing arts department (VPA) is presenting a live radio show performance of Howard Koch's radio script "The War of the Worlds" at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, in Marty's, located on the lowest level of Luther's Dahl Centennial Union. The performance will also be broadcast on Luther's radio station KWLC at 1240AM and online through KWLC's website,

This event is open to the public with no charge for admission.

"War of the Worlds" is based off H.G. Wells' book of the same name released in 1898. Orson Welles' interpretation of this extraterrestrial radio drama debuted in 1938 from New York's Mercury Theatre. The story describes an ongoing alien invasion of Earth. The original performance wreaked havoc among audiences, for they had been convinced that the broadcast was real. Luther's VPA breathes new life into this classic work of science fiction by collaborating with students from Luther's music composition classes.

This production is directed by Jeff Dintaman, Luther professor of theatre, and Robert Vrtis, Luther assistant professor of theatre. The music is directed by Brooke Joyce, Luther assistant professor in music and composer-in-residence.

Director's Note

It’s Halloween, time to have a little fun confronting our fears. This radio play is now 80 years old, and as it goes out on the air tonight, I doubt very much that it will fool anyone or create a panic as it did the first time it aired. Still, there is a fundamental fear that I hope still emerges as the Martians invade our imaginations again.

We rest precariously on this one precious and cosmically tiny planet of ours, and if we don’t fear losing it, we are deluding ourselves. In 1938, our original actors were still reeling from the First World War while the second loomed on the horizon. Such global catastrophe seemed very remote before the last century. These days, I fear we’re so used to the idea that we don’t really fear it as we should. And yet, mounting climate change and threats of nuclear weapons made on childish whims should remind us how close to the brink we have allowed ourselves to go.

I hope that this play reminds us of how much we stand to lose if we lose this home, and that we can’t rely on a miracle to pull us back from global disaster. Humans fight to survive. We ignore the Martins in our telescope at our own peril.

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