Theatrical version of Hitchcock thriller coming to Tech
Cue “Funeral March of a Marionette.” A stage play based on a movie directed by the Master of Suspense himself is dum-da-da-da-da-dum-da-dum-ing to New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center on Halloween eve.
A theatrical version of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps,” once the longest-running comedy/thriller on Broadway, will take center stage at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, in a Performing Arts Series event.
“The 39 Steps” is a play adapted from the 1935 film of the same name directed by Hitchcock; and, itself, loosely based on the 1915 novel by John Buchan. Patrick Barlow wrote the adaptation, based on an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and featuring 150 distinct characters performed by a cast of four.
“Bringing a production of this caliber to town is a tremendous thrill,” said longtime PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “‘The 39 Steps’ has such a natural appeal for theater-lovers, from its historic roots in a black-and-white Hitchcock production, to its successful run on Broadway, and how fun to present it in Socorro the night before Halloween.”
“The 39 Steps” tells the story of an everyday man suddenly thrust into an international caper.
It starts out innocently enough: The man is at an event when, suddenly, gunshots are fired, and in the bedlam that follows, he meets up with a mysterious woman with a thick accent who tells him she’s a spy and talks him into taking her home with him.
Alas, she turns up murdered in the man’s home, and he flees. Soon after, a cryptic organization called “The 39 Steps” is hot on his trail in a nationwide manhunt.
The basic plot of the 1935 Hitchcock thriller is performed nearly verbatim onstage, but is played mostly for laughs. The script alludes to (and puns on the titles of) other Hitchcock films, including “Rear Window,” “Psycho” and “North by Northwest.”
One actor plays the hero, Richard Hannay, an actress plays the three women with whom he has romantic entanglements; and two other actors play every other character in the show: Heroes, villains, men, women, children and even the occasional inanimate object.
Such staging often requires lightning-fast changes; occasionally, the actors play multiple characters at once.
“‘The 39 Steps’ is an excellent opportunity for theater lovers to see a play that’s been on Broadway in the cozy confines of a small auditorium, and at a fraction of the cost,” said the PAS’s Kalish.
“And we invite patrons to dress in period costume, should they wish, in keeping with the setting of the play, which is England and Scotland in the 1930s, and also, because it’s the night before Halloween” she added.
Tech Club – Club Macey (TCCM) will cater to patrons age 21 and over from 5:30 p.m. on the night of the event and throughout intermission. In keeping with the season, TCCM will serve “Mystery Menu” hors d’oeuvres. Cover charge is $5 for non-members.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $10 for youths 17 and under, and are available at the N.M. Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.