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Theatre of the Imagination

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Theatre of the Imagination (Voyager, CD-ROM for PC and Mac, $29.95) There must be a mistake: a multimedia exploration of Orson Welles’ radio days that lacks video, animation, and, most shockingly, The War of the Worlds? But it’s true. This collection of 15 full-length radio shows recorded in the late 1930s and early ’40s by Welles and his legendary Mercury Theatre troupe does not include the typical trappings of multimedia or the most famous broadcast in the history of radio. Instead, as its title suggests, Theatre of the Imagination immerses you in the feel of early radio. Sure, there are essays and notes about the broadcasts, and you can follow the script of an audio track as it plays, but the focus of this disc is squarely on the radio programs themselves. And once you get into the flow, the experience proves enthralling. Just start the program, close your eyes, and listen to artists working in the original ”new media.” B+