MORRO BAY — This October, By the Sea Productions is recreating one of the defining moments of radio in the 20th century. On Sunday, Oct. 30, 1938, a young Orson Welles sent CBS radio network listeners into an uproar with his adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” This staged reading presents that radio broadcast which terrified listeners, angered politicians and earned its place in history.
Show director, Rick Bruce, Cambria’s Village Wizard, is a longtime admirer of Orson Welles.
Says Bruce, “Many people don’t realize that, among his many skills, Orson Welles was a terrific magician. That’s what first drew me to him. I believe that he used his skills as a magician to misdirect his audience and draw them deeply into this story.”
Bruce intends to stay true to the radio broadcast while incorporating a novel staging to let the audience experience the story as did listeners nearly 80 years ago.
The circumstances surrounding the broadcast are as fascinating as the show itself. Did Welles perpetrate a hoax on the American people, or was it just a series of unlucky coincidences that led the listening audience to believe that we were being invaded by Martians? Following the performance, Bruce will answer that question, present a few historical fun facts about the broadcast, and take questions from the audience.
War of the Worlds will be presented Oct. 18 through Oct. 20, with performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and a Sunday Matinee at 3 p.m. at 545 Shasta Ave., Morro Bay. Reservations and tickets are available online at bytheseaproductions.org, or call 805-776-3287.