WEST JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Little Theatre returned to performing Friday, Oct. 30, but eschewed a traditional stage production for a radio performance of “War of the Worlds.” Directed by Brant Burgiss, the production aired live on WKSK.
According to Burgiss, the production went from conception to the final product in only three weeks. After being tapped to direct, Burgiss assembled the cast and crew, which included three Foley artists to do live sound effects.
“We were already in October, and ‘War of the Worlds’ needs to be done on or as close to Halloween as you can,” Burgiss said.
This was the first production from the ACLT since “Calendar Girls” in August, 2019. The 2020 season was expected to have four productions, all live stage plays, but the COVID-19 pandemic saw the season canceled.
The radio production proved to be a way to get back to performing.
“All of us actors at the Little Theatre, we wanted to do something,” Burgiss said. “We’d been sitting on our haunches all season long. We decided we would do it on the radio and take a step back.”
Burgiss said the production therapeutic for those involved, and shined a light on the value of arts and entertainment.
“This whole COVID-19 pandemic has shown how much we rely on the arts for our entertainment, just to get us away, even if it’s only for 30 minutes to an hour. And it’s healthy for us, actors and people who do stuff behind the scenes. We want to do something,” Burgiss said. “We were itching for something to do, and this was a fine remedy for everyone involved.”
Burgiss said the production received a warm reception, which has led to hope of another radio production around Christmas.
ACLT’s “War of the Worlds” was produced by Rebecca Williams and featured the voices of Gabriel Cambre, Baron Cooper, Michael Malloy, Les Miller, Ben Thomas-Reid, Matthew Thomas-Reid and Jim Williams. Olivia Cooper, Levi Blevins and Mason Blevins served as Foley Artist, providing live, hand-made sound effects.
The production is available to listen to on WKSK’s website.