39 steps of mystery

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The newest CSC theatre production leads the audience on a wild chase through England and Scotland in search of the answer to the question: What in the world are the “39 Steps?” Based on the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film, this heart-racing spy story keeps the audience involved and on their toes. A loose translation of the 1915 adventure novel “The Thirty-Nine Steps” by John Buchan, this hilarious thriller depicts the story of Richard Hannay, and his quest to understand the meaning of “the 39 Steps.”

Hannay, played by Derek Phelps, 22, senior of Sidney, finds himself on the lam from the authorities after he flees his own home where the female secret agent, Annabelle Schmidt, played by Hannah Clark, 22, senior of Littleton, Colorado, was found stabbed to death.  Schmidt had warned Hannay that she was being chased by assassins, and prior to her death urged Hannay to escape and try to stop some vital information from leaving the country.

Clark plays three very flamboyant women and all three characters seem to have an underlying chemistry with Phelps’ single character that keeps the audience wondering.

On his journey, police, spies, a frightened female train passenger, innkeepers, and a very flirty Scottish woman create some hilarious twists and turns. He finds himself in some sticky situations, including an exchange involving a fence, handcuffs, and a commissioner’s niece.

The majority of the characters are played by Wacey Gallegos, 21, junior of Ainsworth, and Samuel Martin, 19, freshman of Hot Springs, South Dakota.

These two are a whirlwind of costume changes, silly characters, and for a few scenes these men do their best to impersonate women.

Set in the Black Box Theatre in Memorial Hall, the set designers did not have much room to work with. However, the set changes were sufficient enough for the audience to understand where the action was taking place. A fog machine and screen with video of an airplane also added to the setting.

Slightly off English and Scottish accents, quick costume changes, and interesting chemistry between characters make for an enjoyable performance of this classic Hitchcock story.

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