Olympic Theatre Arts is taking viewers to the past with a doubleheader, one of a creepy retelling for the Halloween season and in another, a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Howard E. Koch’s radio drama of “War of the Worlds” comes to life in the first half featuring Mark Valentine as the iconic actor/director Orson Welles.
In the second half, many of the theater’s veterans present “OTA Moments,” seven vignettes retelling funny stories from OTA’s 40-year history.
Shows run weekends from Oct. 4-13 in the Gathering Hall, 414 N. Sequim Ave.
Olivia Shea, director for “War of the Worlds,” said every word from the 1938 radio play is retold through multiple actors and sound effects.
“It’s been fun to do and have someone making sounds with the foley table,” she said.
The original radio play from New York’s Mercury Theatre frightened listeners across the country fearing extraterrestrials were taking over Earth.
Shea said they’re presenting it as a radio play but putting their own spin on it by interacting with the audience and emoting more.
“We felt it’d be better to show the emotion,” she said.
Originally OTA was going to bring the satire “Greater Tuna” back to the stage, Shea said, but felt the political climate has changed in the last 10 years that didn’t make portions of it appropriate.
Finding your moment
Following heat rays and martians in the first half, actors celebrate the 40th season of OTA with anecdotes from various plays.
“When it goes to intermission, don’t go home,” said Heidi Hansen, OTA past board president.”
You’re going to miss out on something special.”
Hansen, a real estate broker and co-founder of Olympic Peninsula Authors, met with a lot of people involved with the theater in its 40 years in long, open conversations seeking entertaining events.
Actress Melissa Murray said the play is “a celebration of how (OTA) came together with the people who brought it to life.”
The skits feature an array of tales from local actors like Dave McInnes and Jaye Butler arguing over costume changes backstage and Shea losing a live cat under the stage during a rehearsal.
Director Marissa Meek said the actors have been great to recreate the moments.
“They’re the experts about how it really went down,” she said.
They took some liberties, Meek said, to avoid inside jokes and entertain anyone.
“I love the group’s collaboration to make it ring true and entertaining,” she said.
Hansen said she’s been involved with OTA since 2005 and that she remains amazed at the talent involved.
“My first impression when I attended a play was that I was blown away that they had so many volunteer cast and crew members who were so good,” Hansen said. “That’s what continues to amaze me.”
She said also appreciates seeing young people becoming involved taking a small acting part or working backstage and eventually starring in shows years later.
“It’s nice to revisit history,” OTA board member Elaine Caldwell said.
“We’ve had some proud moments all thanks to our generous community.”
For more information on the shows, call 360-683-7326 or visit www.olympictheatrearts.org.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.