Saturday, July 7, 2012

The 39 Steps

The translation of Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps from film to a theatrical performance created comical elements within the original plot that brought life and humor into the production. After screening Hitchcock's film version of The 39 Steps, it is apparent that suspense and mystery are some of the production concepts that are highlighted within the film. However, in the theatrical version , humor and overdramatization are emphasized in order to create a more multifaceted, entertaining production. For instance, when Annabella Smith is murdered in the film version, she simply walks in and hands Mr. Hannay the map of Scotland and falls to the ground dead. But, in the play, she falls dramatically over his lap and convulses like a dieing fish for a good 20 seconds before she is dead. Then, due to the precarious positioning of her body right over Hannay's lap, he must slide out in a comical fashion onto the floor. Moreover, in the train car when Hannay is attempting to conceal himself from the police, he kisses Pamela, so they cannot see his face. In the film she simply looks at him,vaguely affronted, and then tells the police who he is. Yet, in the play, when Hannay kisses her, he takes her in his arms, bends her over backwards in an extremely romantic yet dramatic way and kisses her as though she is the love of his life. However, when they break apart, Pamela's character slaps him in the face and screams to the police, revealing Hannay's identity. The overdramatization of this scene is emphasized because after Hannay kisses Pamela, the audience is lead to suspect that she will fall madly in love him, yet they are surprised and amused when she smacks him in the face and gives him away to the police. Furthermore, another dramatic scene that is infused with comedic relief within the theatrical version of The 39 Steps is the final theater scene when Professor Jordan gets shot. They throw a dummy onto the stage that is meant to surprise the audience, but also to amuse them in a comical way... and it did. The entire theater laughed at the crude, obviously fake aspect of the dummy. Finally, the overall minimalist cast of actors that preformed in the theatrical production aided in the translation of the dramatic film to comical parody play. Often times, there were scenes in which one person would have to play multiple characters, so it was entertaining and funny to the audience to watch the actor attempt pull of this difficult feat. There was one particular instance when an actor had half his body covered with a tan detective trench coat, and the other half in a suit so he had to keep rotating back and fourth saying his lines to himself. Overall, the translation from the film version of The 39 Steps to a theatrical production enhanced the overall comical aspects created a light hearted, entertaining parody.

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