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Alfred Hitchcock Meets Monty Python in ‘The 39 Steps’

Jan 30, 2015 12:35PM ● Published by Shawna Meyer

The Sandy Arts Guild will present “The 39 Steps” in late February at the Chamber Theater.

The Sandy Arts Guild will present “The 39 Steps” starting on Friday, Feb. 20 at the Chamber Theater in Sandy City Hall, 10000 South Centennial Parkway. After opening night, the shows will continue every Friday, Saturday and Monday night until March 7. Curtain call for all shows is 7:30 p.m.

“[The Sandy Arts Guild] provides great opportunities to act or direct with a lot of people who are like-minded as far as being passionate about theater, and it’s a great location in Sandy City, specifically, to perform. We get a lot of great support through Sandy,” Director Laura Bedore said.

The play is adapted from John Buchan’s 1915 spy novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film—both titled “The 39 Steps.” It takes Hitchcock’s serious spy film and adds melodramatic characters, a fast-paced plot and humor that rivals Monty Python.

 A unique aspect of this production is that it features just six performers. Roger Dunbar plays the main role of Richard Hannay, while Francesca Mintowt-Czyz, Joseph Thompson and Kory Koontz will play multiple roles throughout. Sydnee Peronnet and Brooks Bedore will be facilitators for the show, appearing on stage as helpers to make sure the show runs smoothly.

Together, the cast plays about 150 characters throughout the two-hour-long show. Scene changes and costume changes happen very quickly, some while in the audience’s sight.

“I think it’s a challenge to do something with this many scene changes, characters and story lines. I love doing comedies and character works, and this play is a great combination of both,” Bedore said. “I love a challenge.”

Bedore saw a production of “The 39 Steps,” which featured Brian Vaughn as both one of the actors and the artistic director at the Utah Shakespeare Festival a few years ago. She enjoyed it, but something Vaughn said to her after the show got her thinking about what it would be like to do it on a smaller stage.

“Brian Vaughn said, ‘You know, the show is hilarious to watch, but I wish you could see what happens backstage because it’s equally entertaining and just as amazing’ . . . I thought, ‘Why not bring that backstage forward?’ If we see the whole magic of everything happening at once, then it can be a very entertaining show,” Bedore said.

In order to allow these rapid scene and character changes to be believable, each performer has to imbue every character with something uniquely recognizable.

“The challenge is that you have to be able to create memorable and different characters every single time,” Bedore said. “For me, [my goal] is to make everything that happens on stage as ludicrous and funny as it is and still as believable as possible.”

Bedore believes that residents should come see the show not only because she thinks that it’s fun and entertaining, but also because this could be, in her understanding, the last performance that happens at the Chamber Theater. There are going to be some changes happening, and the Sandy Arts Guild is going to moving to new locations around Sandy.

“I would just encourage everyone to come and enjoy a wonderful production that’s going to be both entertaining and really quite fun,” she said.

Adult tickets are $11, seniors 65 and older are $9 and students from kindergarten to 12th grade are $7. You can buy tickets online at Smithtix.com, or by calling 801-568-ARTS. 
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