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Video: Fake news! Aliens are landing in Port Moody

IOCO Players Theatre presents "War of the Worlds: The Panic Broadcast," a play-within-a-play that describes the set up, radio broadcast and aftermath from a 1948 point of view.
Cast members in IOCO Players Theatre’s "War of the Worlds: The Panic Broadcast," at the Oct. 30 rehearsal at The Springs in Port Moody (left to right): Deanna Kayne, Natasha Fairweather, Wilson Fowlie, Jesse Peachment, Paul Wiebe, Kyle MacDonald and Natalie Schreiber.

It's Oct. 30, 1938, a year before the start of the Second World War.

At 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, director Orson Welles steps up to the microphone to narrate a fictional radio drama — an adaptation of H.G. Wells' 1898 novel The War of the Worlds.

The science fiction work that describes a phoney Martian invasion, in breaking news style, sends U.S. listeners into a flurry and prompts widespread criticism for its "trickery."

But fake news is nothing new today, lamented Port Moody resident Mike Arseneault who is directing, producing and performing in the IOCO Players Theatre in the War of the Worlds: The Panic Broadcast, a show adapted by Joe Landry that’s a play-within-a-play and describes the set up, radio broadcast and aftermath from a 1948 point of view.

The production runs from Nov. 9 to 11 for four performances in Port Moody.

Arseneault, who founded the theatrical company in 2021, cast 11 actors to voice multiple characters into the vintage microphones and create the live foley: A rattled slab of sheet metal to mimic thunder, a tin can for a hollowed projection, a funnel for wind.

"The foley sounds are what make the magic," said Arseneault, who performed the 1938 War of the Worlds radio version with an Oregon company four years ago.

In total, the IOCO team creates 50 handcrafted sounds to add to the 50 recordings for sound effects, Arseneault told the Tri-City News during a rehearsal on Oct. 30 at the Inlet United Church at the Springs.

About half of the cast are repeats from previous IOCO productions, he said, and it includes some well-known Port Moody personalities: Mayor Meghan Lahti and Deanna Kayne, the executive director of PoMoArts (formerly the Port Moody Arts Centre).

As well, Wilson Fowlie, the retired musical director of the Maple Leaf Singers show choir, takes the narrator role while other parts are filled out by:

  • Aina Adashynski
  • Natasha Fairweather
  • Kyle MacDonald
  • Jesse Peachment
  • Natalie Schreiber
  • Paul Wiebe
  • Stephanie Wood

Meanwhile, the next show for the IOCO Players Theatre is May 11, 2024, with a repeat performance of Love Letters starring Arseneault as Andrew and Zoe Royer as Melissa (Royer is a School District 43 trustee and former city councillor).

Tickets go on sale in January 2024.

For tickets to War of the Worlds: The Panic Broadcast from Nov. 9 to 11 at the Inlet United Church at the Springs (2315 Spring St., Port Moody) at $30, you can visit A talkback will be held Nov. 11 after the 2 p.m. matinee. For a chance to win a pair of tickets, email [email protected] by Friday, Nov. 3; the winner's name will be drawn at random.