The alien invasion that rocked the world

Complete with a live sound effects team, musicians and vintage commercials, a talented group of students from Sacred Heart Girls’ College are staging a show about an alien invasion. Taranaki Community News caught up with actress Ruby Hosking to get a behind the scenes look.

Hi Ruby! You are part of a pretty cool show coming up at 4th Wall Theatre. Can you tell us about the show and the story behind it?
The show is War of the Worlds: The Panic Broadcast, and our amazing school drama teacher, Mrs Armstrong is directing it, and she has done an epic job.

So, this broadcast is a true story. In 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury theater aired a radio play – War of the Worlds. The radio play was about an invasion of earth, but people didn’t realise it was just a radio play as they tuned in after it had started.

So they believed it was real, and people really flipped out over it, taking their lives, running around in mass panic and people got really angry over it.

Ruby, centre, with some of the team from War of the Worlds: The Panic Broadcast

And who do you play?
I play the energetic character of Freddie Filmore, who is the host of the radio station – WBFR Playhouse of the Air, which is airing the recreation of the actual 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast.

If you were around in the 1930s how do you think you would have reacted to the broadcast?
I think I would have believed it. I mean now we believe everything we read on the internet and social media, don’t we?

Back then they didn’t have phones or internet and TV wasn’t really a thing yet, so the only way they got information about the world was through radio, and I would have trusted everything I was fed through the radio. Everyone was much more innocent and gullible back then.

The show opens at 4th Wall Theatre on Thursday June 20

What are some of the challenges of staging a show like this?
I think at first it was hard to understand we were doing a show about a radio company, that was recreating a radio play.

But the way Mrs Armstrong and the class have done it, I think its pretty easy to follow and people are going to really enjoy it.

Also doing an accurate American accent was a struggle at first!

And the highlights?
Oh, defiantly the farm scene. I can’t give away too much, but I find that scene always a good one to be a part of, and I think the audience is going to really laugh.

Live musicians feature in the play

What do you like about theatre so much, and is it something you want to continue to do, post high school?
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved dressing up and being someone different. I guess drama is an awesome way to still make that part of my childhood live on.

It’s also a really awesome feeling when you are on a stage preforming and hearing the audience laugh and you are able to not break character – that’s my favourite feeling.

I defiantly would love to continue drama out of school, even if it is just voluntary at local theatres. It’s such a fun thing and you meet so many people through doing it.

What do you like to do outside of school?
I spend a lot of time writing music, singing and occasionally busking. I also have recently got into photography and film a lot more. I do also like my sport and I’m a bit of a gym addict.

Why should people come along to War of the Worlds – The Panic Broadcast?
It’s such a fun play. It’s got so much history to it, but there are also a lot of really funny moments. The War of the World broadcast is one of the reasons radio and media has changed so much from the 1930s and it has defiantly taught me so much being a part of this play. We have all worked so hard on this production as well and have some amazing talent in this show!