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‘War of the Worlds’ is a hit out of the box

Bill DeYoung



A scene from the opening night performance of "War of the Worlds." Photos by Thee Photo Ninja.

After seven months locked in the cold Covid cellar, freeFall Theatre burst back into the fresh air Friday night – literally.

Eric Davis and Michael Raabe’s way-out musical adaptation of War of the Worlds premiered, on an outdoor stage, in the north parking lot. The show played to a capacity crowd – 30 automobiles.

Saturday morning, Davis acknowledged the joy of “getting back to work” by putting performers on a stage – even a carefully socially-distanced stage – for patrons to enjoy.

“Although we’ve never really stopped working, that’s the thing,” he explained. “We’ve been working this whole time; we just haven’t been doing plays for the public.

“The performances that the public gets to see are literally the tip of the iceberg. What we’re writing and researching and finding and working on, and collaborating to create and conceptualizing, that’s the work we do most of the time. So we’ve had six months to do that without the … interruption of performing for the audience.”

War of the Worlds combines live performance with multiple video screens and special effects. “We’re back, and we’re open,” Davis said. “And everyone loved the show last night.”

At first, the freeFall team wondered how such an ambitious and decidedly “alternative” approach to live theater would play to an audience. “Because it’s different from seeing a play,” said director of community relations Matthew McGee.

“Everyone left extraordinarily happy. We were worried about ‘How will we hear audiences’ responses?’ But last night, after every musical number, the people honked their horns. We heard people laughing from their cars. It felt nice. I think it was a very moving evening.”

War of the Worlds is also sold out tonight (a few parking spots remain for Sunday night’s performance). The demand, McGee said, is so great that an extension (past the announced Nov. 22 end date) is already being discussed. Tickets and info are here.





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