Shoot the Moon, the Hooker-Dunham's Company in Residence, brings its 4th annual Halloween spectacular taking audiences behind the scenes of Orson Welles’ infamous presentation of the classic H.G. Wells’ novel.
Shoot the Moon theater company presents Orson Welles’ “The War of the Worlds” at the Hooker-Dunham Theater, Friday and Saturday, October 20-21, 27-28 and November 3-4.
This radio adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel created a varying levels of hysteria when it debuted in 1938. Many listeners who missed the disclaimers actually thought Martians were invading Earth, due to the simulated breaking news broadcast format created by director and narrator Welles in collaboration with Howard Koch, who is credited with adapting the nineteenth century work of literature.
Shoot the Moon company members Elias Burgess, Sean Fitzharris, Josh Goldstein, Colin Grube, Jon Mack, Jon Ogorzalek, and Xoe Perra, along with stage manager Alistair Follansbee, bring the audience into the Columbia Broadcasting System studio, where performers read the script, play the scene music and execute the sound effects that panicked families gathered around their living room radios.
“I thought it would be fun to do a live staged version of a radio play,” says artistic director Joshua Moyse of Shoot the Moon’s annual Halloween spectacular, which in past years has included “Dracula”; “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”; and stage adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe. “The words tell the story, which means you don’t always have to stage what is being said, and that allows for greater directorial interpretation.”
Moyse points out that much of the controversy around the production Welles and Koch created for the CBS “Mercury Theater on the Air” program was driven by media criticism that its structure was intentionally deceptive, though Welles denied that was the intent.
“A lot of people are talking about fake media. Let’s have some non-debatable fake news,” says Moyse, adding that Welles’ truer goal was to point to the rise of fascism.
All shows are at 7:30pm. General Admission is $12, and $10 for Brattleboro Museum Art Center members. Reservations can be made in advance by calling 802-254-9276. The Hooker-Dunham Theater is located at 139 Main Street in downtown Brattleboro.
Now in its second year as the company in residence at the Hooker-Dunham Theater, Shoot the Moon is committed bringing high-quality productions of original and contemporary works to theater audiences in the region. This year’s productions included “The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise” by Toshiki Okada, a table reading of Wallace Shawn’s “The Designated Mourner,” and “Trump’s Fifth Avenue: A Political Fantasia.”