Below is a lightly edited transcript of Playtime’s Chicago Theater Report for October 18, 2020:
You can hear this episode at the following archives:
WCGORadio.com (segment begins at 54:47)
Theater in the Dark released its long-awaited production of A War of the Worlds this week. Originally scheduled to be produced in live in a darkened theater, as is the tradition of Theater in the dark, the company had to make some changes when the pandemic hit, and in-person theater, not to mention rehearsals, became impossible.
The project had to take on a new shape and was eventually reframed as a radio drama, much as H.G. Wells’ book was dramatized by Orson Welles in 1938. Theater in the Dark took things one step further, however, and chose to revise not Orson Welles’ production but to instead offer its own version of H.G. Wells’s story.
The story is set in Modern-day Chicago and Kankakee, providing a fresh and timely approach. What is particularly astonishing is that it is actually a radio play, performed live by actors in Chicago, New Orleans, and Vancouver, directed by a Chicago-based crew.
I particularly appreciated the accompanying sound effects and music by Ben Zucker and my guests and I were impressed by the consistency of the production, even though it was being performed on Zoom and from three locations. A War of the Worlds is also a collaboration between director, performers, crew, and audience, as the audience is required to be very intentional in giving attention to the performance.
I strongly recommend this production. Tickets can be purchased online at www.theatreinthedark.com. Technical information for accessing the broadcast can likewise be found on the website. The show runs through November 21st.
As it happens, I chose to enjoy the performance with a couple of friends in my home. As we sat around my dining room table with wine, hummus, and olives, one of my guests remarked on the anachronism of gathering around to listen to a radio broadcast, something that was probably done many times in my vintage building, though likely not for many decades.
The wine I chose was Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc, an organic wine from Marlborough. It proved an excellent foil to roasted garlic hummus and was very much enjoyed by everyone. Even better, it is readily available in grocery stores: I found my bottle at Tony’s Finer Foods in Lincoln Square for about $22. While it is slightly sweeter than I normally prefer, it was still incredibly delicious.
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