Press Releases

April 7, 2003
An Hour of Escapism With a New Comedic Version of "The War of the Worlds"

Locally Written Adaptation Is Set on the Twin Forks, to Be Presented at College

(631) 287 8313
Fax: (631) 283 4081

Weapons of mass destruction, media-savvy generals and imbedded journalists: These things sound familiar, but this time the enemy is completely different, and our toughest foe yet - the Martian army.

The public is invited to Southampton College on Thursday, April 17 at 8 p.m., for a special live reading of a new, hilarious radio play redux, "The War of the Worlds," an adaptation of the 1898 HG Wells novel written by Darren Johnson. The event is free, sponsored by the MFA in Writing program in Chancellors Hall's Kanas Lounge. For further information, contact (631) 287-8432.

This updated "The War of the Worlds" takes place in Riverhead after a strange meteorite crashes near an outlet mall. Adjunct community college professor and astronomy buff Doug Oglivy is dispatched to the scene on cell-phone remote as on-air personality Psychic Simone tries to manage harried and off-point calls at a small-town radio station. Tension "and humor" increases as the characters realize that what crashed wasn't a meteorite but a spaceship. Mayhem follows at the mall as a Martian emerges. Soon, the U.S. Army is called, but it takes something even mightier to stop the invasion.

"This play is more about the state of 21st-century media and its war coverage than anything else," Johnson said, "but my ultimate goal is to entertain and offer an hour of escape from the more threatening stories we hear each night." The play debuted at Riverhead's Vail-Leavitt Mini-Cine last fall. A local newspaper reviewer wrote: "I thoroughly enjoyed it."

Johnson lives with his wife, Eileen, and four-year-old daughter, Kaylee, in Riverhead. He was named the New York Press Association's Writer of the Year award in 1996 when he worked for The Sag Harbor Express. Johnson, 33, is a full-time administrator at Southampton College, where he earned both a B.A. and M.F.A. in Writing.