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12/7/2017 12:39:00 PM
IU class enters 'The Twilight Zone:' Students revisit classic episodes of scary show
Cast and crew members work on a scene for Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? at the Monroe County Airport. Courtesy photo by Marlie Burns
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Cast and crew members work on a scene for Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? at the Monroe County Airport. Courtesy photo by Marlie Burns

Jenny Porter Tilley, Herald-Times

What you are about to read is the story of the rebirth of a classic science fiction television anthology. A group of Indiana University students, faculty, staff and community members have joined forces to tell new stories on classic themes.

This is "The Twilight Zone."

Fans of the original series might imagine the words above narrated by Rod Serling, the creator of the series. But in three episodes produced by a class called "21st Century Twilight Zone," the part of the narrator is played by local actress and storyteller Gladys DeVane, an African-American woman. She lends a new voice to Serling's timeless structure rather than mimicking his performance. 

IU's Themester topic this semester, "Diversity, Difference, Otherness," was a perfect opportunity for a production class focusing on "The Twilight Zone," which senior lecturer Steven Krahnke has always wanted to do.

"I didn't just want to do the original scripts," Krahnke said. "I wanted to kind of reimagine them."

Instead of reproducing Serling's original work, Krahnke selected three episodes to represent the Themester concept and had students rewrite them. Using classic stories that highlight human reactions to crises, cast and crew were able to play in Serling's world. Krahnke's goal was not to improve upon the stories, but to reimagine them in a modern era.

"We had to be true to what Serling was doing," he said.

Julia Telthorst, a sophomore film major who served as student art director for the episode "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street," said the class has given her the opportunity to learn about the whole process of producing a television show. The episode she worked on uses an alien invasion to frame a critique of Cold War paranoia.

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