Recognizing that Utahns have a hunger for good storytelling, Lane Richins founded the Salt City Radio Players in 2014. Mid-20th century radio dramas have long held a fascination for Richins, and the group produces and perorms staged readings evocative of those old-timey entertainments.The Salt City Radio Players will perform the 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' sci-fi novel The War of the Worlds, Oct. 29 & 30 at Clark Planetarium (110 S. 400 West, 385-468-7827, ClarkPlanetarium.org). The Hansen Dome Theatre will host the actors, live musicians and foley artists (who create sound effects using the same ingenius techniques their counterparts developed before digital F/X technology had been invented). Performances are free; tickets are available in-person at the planetarium box office on a first come, first served basis. KCPW 88.3/105.5 will also broadcast the performance.
Why is War of the Worlds still so popular?
The invasion story is timeless. It has lived before us and will live when we're gone. It's a tale of what lies beyond. There's even a theory out there that says the invasion was actually real. The panic started because of aliens, but the local militia shot them down. According to conspiracy theorists, the real story was covered up.
Are you doing anything special to appeal to the specialized tastes of Utah audiences?
Yes, I've gone through and made it my own. I've changed all the names and geography to match Utah's.
Will producing the show at the Clark Planetarium give you an opportunity to use visual elements radio audiences don't see?
The planetarium has been working on the visual aspects of show. Think of the Clark Planetarium's Pink Floyd laser show. You'll listen and watch them perform lights. There will be a total immersion with fog machines included.
Do you perform contemporary as well as historic radio dramas?
We don't want shackles on what we choose to do. Anybody who wants to work with us can bring ideas and, if it works, we'll use it. Working with Clark Planetarium means we've done a lot with science fiction, but if it's a good story and we find it compelling we'll use it.
How often do you broadcast live on the radio?
Over airways, we haven't done anything live, but on Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., we'll be broadcasting a recording of the live performance on KCPW FM. Theoretically, you could go to the show at 7 p.m. and, on your way home, you can turn on the radio and tune in again.