We begin in Chicago “sometime in the near future,” and one thing has become obvious: Earth is being surveyed from above. A WAR OF THE WORLDS, a novel originally penned by H.G. Wells in 1898, gets a modern take when adapted by Theatre In The Dark to be an audio-only drama. With mentions of Chicago throughout the production—such as the DuSable Bridge and reporters from local publications such as the Chicago Sun-Times—it is emphasized that both Chicagoans and suburb-dwellers will be affected by the extraterrestrial events that take place.
This 90-minute production isn’t all sci-fi thriller, at least not at first, as our narrator begins the production describing the night sky he and his lover are witnessing. He points out the stars in the sky, the signs of the zodiac, and does so in a way that allows us to feel we might be watching the sky, too. But the peace that shrouds the first few minutes of the production is short lived. Soon after star gazing, the narrator is called to work.
What unravels afterward is a series of events that could only be explained due to Martian invasion—stars exploding like meteors in the sky, power outages, and mass confusion by townspeople. Woven into the chaos of earthly invasion is a subplot of love lost, as H.G. Wells—one of our narrators—separates himself from his lover, Isabel, before the destruction of the Windy City.
Theatre In The Dark looks to the future from the past
Photographs from Isabel, the narrator's lover, and journal entries from H.G. Wells are unearthed and intertwined with the narration. “I write this down as it happened; form your judgment as you will,” one such entry reads.
The journals also recount the sites and sounds of Martian tripods entering the city with their siren-like howls. How chilling!
“What did they look like?”
“... The most terrible thing I've ever seen...”
This production is well suited for those keen on sci-fi thrills who can also enjoy a twist on a literary classic—or those who like the taste of a tequila old fashioned, the drink of choice of the creators. If that fits your idea of entertainment A WAR OF THE WORLDS is well worth your time.
Robinson J. Cyprian (Swing), Lauren Ezzo (Swing), Mack Gordon (H.G. Wells), Ming Hudson (Professor), Elizabeth McCoy (Isabel Wells), Alex Morales (Dr. Ogilvy)
Corey Bradberry (director, stage manager, additional sound design, co-adapter), Mack Gordon (co-adapter), Ross Burlingame (sound tech and additional sound design)
Thru November 21
Online via Zoom link
About the Author: Margaret Smith ( Photo by Mike Rundle )
Margaret Smith is a multi-genre writer, editor, and Americano enthusiast based out of Chicago. Having recently achieved her B.A. from Columbia College Chicago, she’s now been granted the time to fully enjoy the arts and cultural offerings around her—as well as pursue hobbies such as swimming and reading her way through her bookshelf.