He was known as the Master of Suspense.
Director Alfred Hitchcock created many films that became cultural and cinematic icons. Who doesn’t remember Cary Grant being chased across a cornfield by the murderous pilot of a mysterious crop duster? Or Tippi Hedren being dive-bombed by countless seagulls, crows, and sparrows in The Birds? Who among us felt safe in the shower after witnessing the fate of poor Janet Leigh in our first viewing of Psycho?
Falcon Theatre will open its 2019-2020 30th anniversary season with a revival of its 2012 audience favorite The 39 Steps, the frenetically paced spoof of Hitchcock’s 1935 film of the same title.
Cut from the same creative cloth as last season’s Baskerville and The Complete Works of Wm. Shakespeare (Abridged), the play features a small team of actors who portray scores of characters throughout the performance. Often, actors are required to present more than one character at a time.
“…That’s the fun of the thing: getting to watch the brilliant actors in this show experiment, invent, and perfect their own crazy and outside-the-box choices,” says first-time Falcon director Griff Bludworth. “Few shows provide an actor with that sort of freedom to make such diverse and off-the-wall choices or a director with the opportunity to enjoy watching those choices be made and help them come to life.” The result, says Bludworth, will be “a Hitchcock-style thriller told in a series of Monty Python or Frye and Laurie-esque sketches” loaded with demanding physical comedy and slapstick.
The story tracks the exploits of dashing Canadian hero Richard Hannay who finds himself inadvertently entwined in a global spy ring where he encounters the femme fatale Annabella Schmidt, a German spy. Hannay is forced to evade the law after being mistakenly identified as a murderer. Hannay’s escape takes the audience on a comical journey of Hitchcock thrillers. True Hitchcock aficionados will catch passing allusions to many of his films.
Director Bludworth is excited to bring The 39 Steps to Falcon’s small stage and intimate space. “To keep the show tight in a space like this is an exciting challenge, but, if done right, a rewarding one. Every eyebrow-raise and little sigh becomes an opportunity for humor,” he says.
The cast includes Ryan J. Poole, Elizabeth Chinn Molloy, Eileen Earnest, and Ben Jacobs. The production opens September 27 and runs through October 12, 2019. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $15 for students with ID. Patrons enjoy a $5 discount for Thursday performances. Visit falcontheater.net for tickets.