War Of The Worlds

Fisher Bennett Hall

Room 401

Fake news?

Fears of authoritarian control?

Politics in an era of new media?

And a Martian invasion of Philadelphia?

All in one performance?


Orson Welles’s masterpiece of radio theatre remains relevant today – even as it spoke directly to the world of 1938. In this presentation, Penn students revive and retell the classic radio tale, best remembered for the panic it supposedly spawned. The performers will also pause to set the play in its context – explaining how what might have been silly story of space invaders instead became a commentary on fake news and fascism, on a moment of domestic and international unrest, on the place of media and its potential for manipulating the public, and a foray into new forms of storytelling and the power of theatre. This is a recreation of one of the powerful pieces of theater from America in the Great Depression and on the eve of World War II. The story of that performance may be as captivating as the play itself.”

See the Penn News feature on this project here.