Cast and crew look ahead to premiere of The 39 Steps


Tyler Kinzy

Scaling a fence while handcuffed, sophomore Arden Dickson and senior Hayden Riehl perform a scene from "The 39 Steps." Among the characters Riehl portrays is Richard Hannay, a British man attempting to hide from law enforcement after being accused of murder. “[Hannay is] this really high energy, ‘stick-in-the-mud’ type character,” Riehl said. “He is super exhausting to play because of all the running I do, but he’s just got a really fun properness to him that completely contradicts all the wildness around him.”

Tyler Kinzy, Sports Editor

This week marks the culmination of a four-month production process dating back to last May as the fall play, “The 39 Steps,” is slated for a Sept. 21 debut, followed by two showings the next day.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s like an old spy movie but taken on stage,” senior director MJ Stricker said. “It’s very over-dramatic and over exaggerated with everything, but instead of using cameras to angle that, they have to portray that through a character on stage.”

The show casts five actors to fulfill 139 roles in a series of fast-paced scenes. Consequently, the importance of versatility has been stressed as a necessity for the production to thrive.

“I have many roles in the show. The majority of them are male, which is fun to play with because I’m the opposite gender of what I normally am. I range from literally a child all the way up to a very old man. Mentally, you become this character so it makes it easier to transform through all these different ages,” sophomore Clare Weaver said. “Changing costumes so quickly and being able to transform into a completely different character is so cool to me. It’s not me in different outfits, it’s the different characters.”

With crew members outnumbering the consolidated cast, “The 39 Steps” features offstage roles in the production ranging from the technical booth to set construction to publicity managers.

“It’s a role of leadership that I’ve stepped into. I enjoy it because I’m creating something out of nothing,” sophomore light designer Levi Ladd said. “It makes me feel resourceful and it’s a very beneficial job to the theatre department. Theatre is the way I learned people’s names outside of my grade.”

Following auditions in May, the production worked over the summer to prepare the more precise facets of the show as well.

“We had a lot of rehearsals this summer. It also helped to get things built and ready for the show because it has a lot of moving parts. Having all of the set built, they’re able to start practicing with that early,” Stricker said. “There’s a part where there’s a ladder balancing on two walls, but the walls are on wheels, so if it’s not on there right, the ladder could flip and then all the actors would fall off. We have to make sure everything’s in the exact spot that it needs to be.”

Frequent interaction fosters a sense of comradery among cast and crew members, regardless of the roles or titles listed on a playbill.

“There’s never a dull moment. It’s definitely created some close bonds, some inside jokes,” Weaver said. “It’s really cool to see how the cast and the crew interact when we’re so close together. It’s easier to create a dynamic between the actors when there’s less of us.”