September 10, 2008

A Night of Sci-Fi

By Bill Blankenship

By Bill Blankenship


AM radio was still high-tech and the 21st century was far enough away to provoke imagination when the three scripts the WTCT Players will perform Friday night first aired.

Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy's radio theater troupe, comprised of actors 50 and older, will present an evening of sci-fi at 8 p.m. Friday in Oldfather Theatre at TCT, 3028 S.W. 8th. The shows include two based on stories written by Ray Bradbury, author of "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles."

The WTCT Players perform those vintage scripts live, complete with sound effects created on stage and incidental music played by a troupe member.

Friday's scripts are:

- "The Robot Killer," an episode of "2000 Plus," a series that ran on the Mutual Broadcasting System from March 15, 1950, to Jan. 2, 1952.

In the play, the sponsors of "The Happy Sam Show" give away a robotic house servant to a suburban couple without knowing the female half is mentally unstable and wants the robot to murder someone.

- "Mars is Heaven," an episode of "X Minus One," which NBC broadcast from April 24, 1955, to Jan. 9, 1958.

The Bradbury-penned story, which was later incorporated into "The Martian Chronicles," tells of the first expedition to Mars. The U.S. spacecraft lands on April 20, 1987, but the crew finds on the Martian surface an all-American town that reminds each of them of their boyhood home. Have the astronauts entered a time warp or landed in a Martian trap?

- "Marionettes, Inc.," which was first heard on "Dimension X," an NBC program broadcast from April 8, 1950, to Sept. 29, 1951.

Adapted from Bradbury's short story, which was published in his collection, "The Illustrated Man,""Marionettes, Inc." tells of a husband looking to get away from his wife for a vacation. He purchases a robot duplicate of himself to take his place, but things don't work out as planned.

Tickets for the performance are $6 each.

The weekend also will bring another show by TCT's other senior troupe, The Senior Class, which will present an evening of improvisational comedy at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Oldfather Theatre. Tickets for it also are $6.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the TCT box office, by calling there at 357-5211 or online at

Bill Blankenship can be reached

at (785) 295-1284

or [email protected]

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