Waco theatergoers get to exercise their imaginations this weekend with one production created largely for the ear and another built on fantasy.
Brazos Theatre produces the former with a recreation of the radio play “War of the Worlds,” a fictitious account of a Martian invasion whose 1938 radio broadcast caused panic in listeners across the country. Jubilee Theatre creates the latter in its adaption of the Roald Dahl’s children’s fantasy “James and the Giant Peach,” which tells the adventure of a boy, a magical giant peach and the insects who accompany him.
The radio play is the latest for Brazos Theatre and its first performance of the famous 1938 story. “We’re trying to make it as true to the original as we can,” said director Beth Richards, who noted pre-recorded electronic sound effects and musical interludes proved a new challenge for the play’s sound engineer.
“I mean, what would an alien heat ray sound like?”
An all-male cast of six, dressed in ’30s conservative clothing (as befits radio professionals), brings the story’s varied characters to life and, in the process, reveals to the audience the inner workings of a radio play, Richards said.
Tickets are available at the door, but those wishing a meal catered by Baris Italian Restaurant should make reservations by 10 a.m. Thursday, the director said.
At the Jubilee Theatre, director Trent Sutton said “James and the Giant Peach” is an appropriate family-friendly opener for the theater’s first fully-scheduled season. A cast of 13, ranging from elementary students to adults, perform Dahl’s story of an English boy named James (played by 12-year-old Joanna Able), who escapes the oversight of two oppressive aunts with the help of a magically growing giant peach that, thanks to the help of insects living inside, he takes on an overseas journey to New York City.
Thanks to a collaboration among cast and crew, some of the play’s rhyming lines have been set to music and accompanied by violinist Joshua Ransom, Sutton noted. “It’s a recognizable story and accessible for all ages,” he said.