Rhum and Clay will premiere a radical adaptation of HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds at New Diorama Theatre in 2019.
“No one would have believed, in the last years of the 19th century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space….”
But we did believe. We believed that Martians landed in New Jersey. We believed a water tower was an alien war machine. We believed a man walked on the moon. We believe everything the trolls tell us…
Inspired by Orson Welles’ classic radio play – 80 years almost to the day since the original broadcast was apocryphally reported to have caused widespread panic after being mistaken for true events – this legendary totem of science fiction is reimagined for our era of Fake News and ‘alternative facts’; where widespread panic and mistrust and make the truth an ever-harder concept to identify.
Rhum and Clay have become renowned for the visceral physicality of their productions as well as their ability to create beautiful, visually textured on-stage worlds. In War of the Worlds they have created layer upon layer of story, weaving in and out of different time frames and narratives as if moving the dial on a radio: atmospheric, exciting and disorienting.
Joining Rhum and Clay co-artistic directors Julian Spooner and Matthew Wells on this production is Isley Lynn writer of the extraordinary sexual odyssey Skin a Cat for which she was nominated for Best New playwright at The Offies, and which is currently being adapted for television. Her powerful contemporary voice offers a welcome counterpoint to a story originating in the male-dominated society of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Recent Rhum and Clay productions include a tour-de-force one-man adaptation of Dario Fo’s classic Mistero Buffo which generated massive attention and praise and won the Stage Award for Best Performance at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe. Their previous show Testosterone – the true story of a trans man recalling his transition and his search for a new male identity, is still touring worldwide three years after its first performance.
Now, in The War of the Worlds, Rhum and Clay explore our inability to separate fact from fiction and show the power of fake events to cause real reactions. With references ranging from H.G Wells and Orson Welles via Jeff Wayne and a nod to Tom Cruise, this intense, unsettling and raucously entertaining reinvention of the original alien invasion myth shows that in the darkest of times, the truth is a very precious commodity.
The War of The Worlds is at the New Diorama Theatre 8th January to 9th February 2019.