Theater department puts on one act play before going to competition

The theatre department performs their pre-UIL showing of the one-act play, The 39 Steps on Friday, March 13.

Sage Sutton

The theater students are putting on a comedic one-act play called The 39 Steps. The whole cast is made up of 15 students playing 150 characters. The cast has been rehearsing since January almost every day after school, at the beginning, they also shared some of the performers with the choir musical. The show will take place on March 13 in the Performing Arts Center.

“I don’t think this community has seen a show like this before,” theater teacher Meredith Yanchak said. “The concept of the show is completely unique. It’s a bunch of actors and they are putting on the most monumental film of the 1930s, The 39 Steps, complete with plane crashes and car chases and running over trains. They are putting all of that on, live, right in front of you on stage. People should want to see how that happens — you should want to see a plane crash on stage.”

The students will be taking the show to the first section of UIL contest on March 26 and if they advance, they will perform again on April 2 for district. After the first round of the UIL design contest, two people, Morgan Wendlandt and Emma Garrison have each qualified for costume design and marketing respectively.

“People should come and see it because, it is fast paced and you don’t see this kind of show very often'” Senior Susannah Crowell said. “It’s supposed to be this rag-tag group of kids who don’t really know what they’re doing. It just goes so fast, you can pick up on jokes quickly and it’s only 40 minutes, so even if you’re not a huge theater fan you’re not going to get bogged down.”

The 39 Steps is based on the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name. It follows Richard Hannay, a common fellow, as he struggles to clear his name of murder, investigate the wrongdoings of an international spy ring, catch the bad guy and find love.

“I like Pamela, [my character], because you can take the character a lot of different ways — she doesn’t have to be this little ingenue like most shows have,” Susannah said. “She’s kind of bumbling, she’s falling in the mud, all this crazy stuff is happening to her and you can give her so many different reactions. You can play with her character a lot, and there aren’t very many female lead roles that you can really play with like that.”

The cast auditioned at the start of the second semester. Senior John Thomas landed one of the main roles, as Richard Hannay.

“I think what I really want out of this is sort of what I got last year,” John said. “I remember when we took the show to contest, the whole cast became really close. I’m hoping to forge some more cast bonds. It’s also a very different show than anything I’ve ever really done before. I feel like that’s really helping expand my acting repertoire.”

Yanchak says she feels that everyone is equal in leadership in the play because everyone plays so many parts that there is no room for a weak link. Along with the actors, the backstage crew plays an integral part because they help run the show and encourage the actors.

“It’s kind of crazy [backstage] because we have to do the show in 40 minutes, and it’s not really intended to be in 40 minutes,” sophomore Claire Mac said. “Everything is really fast paced, but it’s really fun.”