Campus News

University Theatre stages update of Orson Welles’ classic War of the Worlds

Mars attacks!

Its minions will be coming to Athens on Oct. 13, and a crew from a fictional public radio station will be on hand to bring you the grisly march of aliens across the landscape. The new invasion is a radio play, which will be staged before a live audience, bringing back the days of radio drama complete with sound effects and acting from a troupe of UGA theatre students.

This time around it’s not Martians per se, though Orson Welles, who terrified America with his classic radio drama The War of the Worlds in 1938, would recognize the story. Instead, the invaders in this new adaptation of the story are simply from “out there,” and they’re not coming to New Jersey where Welles had them land, but to Athens, Atlanta and the world at large.

“Seeing the show live, you have the advantage of either listening with your eyes closed, imagining the alien creatures devouring the Earth as you know it or watching the controlled chaos on stage that serves to create this imaginary world,” said John Kundert-Gibbs, an associate professor in the department of theatre and film studies who wrote the adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel and will direct the production for University Theatre.

The War of the Worlds, which also will be aired live on WUGA-FM, will be performed one night only at the Classic Center Oct. 13, with the audience seated by 7:30 p.m. No late seating will be available.  Admission is $10 for orchestra, $7 for parterre and $5 for balcony seating. Tickets are available at the Classic Center box office, by phone at (706) 357-4444 or online (

Kundert-Gibbs’ adaptation is a present-day story that takes place around the Athens area and deals with a subtext that isn’t funny at all (terrorism), just as the encroaching threat of World War II wasn’t funny in 1938.

Actors for the show include graduate students Amy Roeder and Brandon Wentz, along with undergraduates Kim Fasone, Bradley Golub, Anna Wilensky, Katelyn Foley, George Akers and Martin Smith. Sound design is by Brian Arnold.