The War of the Worlds


The Long Beach Shakespeare Company 2006
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This was a staged reading adapted from H.G. Wells’ novel. The show consisted of four performers who read as multiple characters each; and one actor, set apart from the other three, who would stand at points throughout the show and narrate as H.G. Wells. I had one day to put this show up, so while it had to be very effective, it had to be very efficient as well. I wanted this show to be very stark and moody. The actors, all in black, sat on black stools with black music stands to hold their scripts, and as their characters came in a spot light would come up on them. H.G. Wells had a more natural warm/cool lighting as opposed to the white light of the others. The lighting was limited to those specials with the exception of lighting effects for things such as fire, green glows, alien heat rays and so forth. The entire stage was painted in a deep silver metallic with the exception of the black walls and the white cyc, which almost disappeared when not in use. The cyc was used for projections, a major element of this show, done in PowerPoint from a digital projector on stage and run by the actor playing H.G. Wells using a concealed blue tooth mouse, which allowed him to advance the slides from where he was without needing to interact with the projector at all. The slides were a compilation of black and white images done by famous illustrators dating back as far as the original printing of the novel; with the addition of odds and ends I found that were not done in editions of the book, but were needed for the narration of this production.