Pandemic sends OSU’s ‘War of the Worlds’ back to the radio

Oklahoma State University students rehearse a modern-day adaptation of War of the Worlds radio broadcast at the Vivia Locke Theatre on the Stillwater campus. The broadcast will be available online at 7 p.m. Oct. 22.

Story provided by OSU News

We interrupt this story with breaking news of an alien invasion in Grovers Mill, New Jersey.

An unknown number of people are dead, and reports of deadly gas drifting through neighborhoods have created mass panic with residents fleeing from their homes.

This was how the War of the Worlds radio broadcast narrated by Orson Welles in 1938 — based on the 1898 novel by H.G. Wells — from New York’s Mercury Theatre kicked off. The problem was the script of a Martian invasion of Earth was very believable, and many people listening across the country bought it.

Although America isn’t dealing with an alien invasion today, it is facing a national crisis as the novel coronavirus impacts daily lives.

Oklahoma State University’s Department of Theatre has dealt well with transitioning from in-person to radio-like broadcast performances and is hard at work preparing a modern-day adaptation of War of the Worlds.

“The adapted show brings in contemporary themes leaping off today’s headlines,” said David Kersnar, professor and head of the theatre department. “Isolation, pandemic and ‘fake news’ all are touched on in the show as we bring this sci-fi classic to Payne County.”

The pre-recorded performances from the Vivia Locke Theatre on the OSU-Stillwater campus will go live by 7 p.m. Oct. 22 and can be listened to online. To listen, download the O’Colly Media Group OMG app from the App Store or Google Play Store and scroll down to the bottom to find the OSU Department of Theatre channel.