Imagine you turn on the radio. Your favorite song is playing by St. Ambrose’s own Molly Conrad. You start singing along, but all of a sudden the song is interrupted.
Word has it that aliens have invaded, and they’re not very far away. They’re in Durant, only half an hour from Davenport. The reporter on the radio sounds dead serious, and describes in detail what he’s seeing. You can hear people screaming in the background. Would you believe it?
75 years ago, a play called “War of the Worlds” was broadcast, bringing out a scenario similar to the one described. It was a prank, aired the day before Halloween, but some people didn’t get the message and took it seriously. Ever since, the play has been famous, or infamous, depending on how you look at it.
Now, St. Ambrose’s radio station KALA is re-broadcasting the play with a twist.
Johnna Klossing, production specialist, and Ken Colwell, professor, edited the play to make it take place in the Midwest. The invasion starts in Durant, Iowa and spreads across the area, making its way up to Chicago.
Students are primarily doing the voice work for the special, and are hard at work recording the scenes.
“It’s difficult, because you have to paint a picture without an actual picture by using the words,” voice talent Ryan McManus, who plays the role of the Captain, said. “I think the people we have do an excellent job of that.”
Most of the people involved haven’t done anything like this before, but are enjoying the learning experience.
“My high school didn’t have opportunities like this,” voice talent Taylor Brooks said. “We had musicals and plays, and stuff like that, but we didn’t have a radio station. I honestly did it because it’s something new and it’s something I’d like to try. And if I try to do it my freshman year, maybe I’ll want to do it throughout.”
“I’ve learned a lot about different voices to use in radio, and my radio voice in general,” voice talent Jake Hannon said. He plays Carl Phillips, the reporter who explains what’s happening throughout the invasion.
While it’s mostly students voicing the play, those involved are still expecting a high-quality finished product.
“It will be different because it will be obviously more localized here,” McManus said. “The different voices, the dynamic it brings, I think it will stack up well. I like what I’ve heard so far and I think it’s going to be a great performance.”
“It’s a historically famous production,” voice talent Rex Farmer said. “I feel pretty honored to be a part of it.”
KALA’s production of “War of the Worlds” will air on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.
A listening party will be held in the Beehive of Ambrose Hall during the premiere. The public is welcomed to join KALA for free food and drink and a costume party.