MIDDLETOWN: THE MARTIANS ARE HERE

war-worlds-broadcast-1938Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 broadcast of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS is evoked in a live radio play performance by Raconteur Radio, Saturday afternoon at Middletown Library.

It’s coming up on 76 years since a young upstart barely out of his teens proto-punk’d a nation, with a loose radio adaptation of the H.G. Wells thriller The War of the Worlds. Framed as a breathless breaking-bulletin account of a real-time Martian landing in rural New Jersey, the drama employed tools like fake news, fever-pitch pacing and fear-mongering — back when those tools were shiny and new.

Those who sneer at the thought of Depression-era hayseeds barricading their corn cribs from giant robot attack — and let he who hasn’t fallen for an internet celebrity-death hoax cast the first stone — can put themselves in the shoes of their forebears, when Middletown Township Public Library hosts a live recreation of that infamous Halloween horrorcast. Approximately one hour in length, the performance is scheduled for Saturday, October 4 at 2 pm — so as not to send the easily spooked out into the long shadows of a witching-season night.

Enhanced and authenticated by “theatrical lighting, costumes, vintage commercials, and extensive sound effects,” the production is the handiwork of impresario Alexander G. Dawson and his Raconteur Radio troupe, a Metuchen-based company that travels the tri-state area delivering classic and original radio-style plays (as well as the odd “pop culture parody”). The performance will be followed by a Q&A session about the origins and lingering legacy of Welles’ mischievous milestone; admission is free, but tickets are required, and can be picked up at the library’s front desk.