Most daunting of all? It's a fast-paced comedy that needs some real dash and verve to pull it off and make it come to life.
You will have to see the play for yourself, but it looks like they pull it off.
Before the opening, it has been a pleasure to watch the actors magically bend into characters, to see the creative and clever sets emerge, to witness the director pick up the pace while the pieces fall into place -- sounds, hats, lights, windows, trains.
Four talented actors bring life to more than 100 characters, at break-neck speed, on a stark stage that becomes a train, a castle, a moor, a West End theater and more.
"The 39 Steps" has a long pedigree, having gone through quite a few iterations, ending up here, today, as an extremely funny and fast-paced farce.
Production Manager: Judy Weinberg
Richard Hannay: Zach McQueary
Annabella Schmidt / Margaret / Pamela: Vivienne Carrette
Clown: David Fisher
Clown: Meg DiMaggio
About the Cast:
New to Arlington, Zach McQueary plays our “hero,” Richard Hannay, with a spot-on British accent. And a dashing pencil mustache. He was last seen in Theatre@First’s production of “Bent,” directed by an AFD regular, Nick Bennett-Zendzian.
Vivienne Carrette, of Concord, is the woman he encounters, over and over… First, the mysterious German spy, Annabella Schmidt, whose murder sends Hannay fleeing for his life. But, who are the other two women who help him on his way? And why do Pamela, the woman on the train, and the Scottish farmer’s wife, Margaret, look so familiar?
Two theatrical clowns portray more than 150 roles between the two of them, with lightning-quick changes of character and costume. The clowns are Meg DiMaggio, of Medford, and David Fisher, of Burlington. DiMaggio and Fisher are both talented and experienced actors. David Fisher was previously seen on the AFD stage in "Death by Chocolate" and "West Side Story."
Carrette, DiMaggio and McQueary are new to the AFD stage, but have accumulated an impressive list of local credits among them. Arlington Friends of the Drama heartily welcomes them, and is excited to share this production with the community.
The play began as a 1915 novel by John Buchan, then took shape as a 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock.
Patrick Barlow wrote the play adaptation, based on the original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon. The film’s serious spy story is played mainly for laughs, and the script is full of allusions to other Alfred Hitchcock films, including Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo and North by Northwest.
This version essentially acts out the movie using a cast of only four. One actor plays the hero, Richard Hannay; one actress plays the three women with whom he has romantic entanglements; and two other actors play every other character in the show: men, women, children and even the occasional inanimate object.
The play shares the plot and characters with the film. However, the play is a more comic treatment of the story, in the style, more or less, of Monty Python.
In London, the play won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy in 2007 and the What’s On Stage Award for Best Comedy 2007. The 2008 Roundabout Broadway production won the 2008 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience and Outstanding Lighting Design (Kevin Adams). It won two Tony Awards on June 15, 2008 for Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design. It was nominated for four other Tonys: Best Play, Best Direction of a Play, Best Scenic Design of a Play and Best Costume Design of a Play.
Yep, it’s wheelchair-accessible, and assisted listening devices are available. How’s that for convenient?
To watch the production emerge, visit the blog. You can see videos and photos of the actors and the crew at work.