L.A. Theater Works to make stop at DePauw

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Step back to a time when radio was the only broadcast medium and audiences were thrilled by live radio dramas when the Los Angeles-based L.A. Theatre Works visits DePauw University Tuesday.

The troupe -- considered by many to be the premier live radio theatre company in the United States -- will present the classics "War of the Worlds" and "The Lost World" at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Center for the Performing Arts' Kresge Auditorium.

Under the auspices of the DePauw Performing Arts Series, the event is free and open to all.

L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) utilizes popular television actors from television's Sci-Fi Channel and elsewhere in its touring productions of works by great contemporary playwrights and adaptations of literary classics.

This month marks the 70-year anniversary of the Orson Welles Mercury Theatre's live radio broadcast of Howard Koch's adaptation of the H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds." The broadcast, which many listeners believed to be an actual news bulletin, caused actual widespread panic when it aired on Halloween night in 1938.

The LATW production suggests through implication that a contemporary American audience consider our own fears of a "foreign invasion."

On a somewhat lighter note, after intermission LATW will perform a campy adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World," an adventure depicting an expedition deep into the Amazon undertaken to prove the existence of living prehistoric animals.

With its emphasis on the spoken word and ingenious live sound effects, radio theatre by the LATW gives us an aural glimpse into a time before film and television came to dominate popular storytelling; the genre invites the audience to take part in creating the imaginative world of the story as it is being told.

The current touring production of LATW's "War of the Worlds"/"The Lost World," under the direction of John de Lancie, utilizes a seven-member cast including Diane Adair, Josh Clark, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Jen Dede, Jerry Hardin, Peter McDonald and Kenneth Alan Williams.

All are veterans of network and cable television, feature films, and many of America's finest theatres.

While on the Greencastle campus, members of the LATW will also be visiting DePauw classes. Additionally, the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of the cast in a "talk back" session to immediately follow the performance.

This event is funded in part by the Gilbert R. Lance Fund. For information contact Ron Dye at rdye@depauw.edu or by phone at 658-4689.

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