Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The 39 Steps of Being Perfectly Imperfect

On Thursday July 17th my classmates and I headed out to see The 39 Steps, a parody of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, which is based on the novel by John Buchan. Upon arriving in Picadilly Circus I was instantly blown away by the amount of lights and people and simply activity that was happening around me! It was like a British version of Times Square in New York City. It was fascinating to see that London has so many diverse parts to it, and this was one of them.

One thing that struck me as odd was the actual size of the stage.Generally, in America, the stages in most theaters are seemingly huge, if not vast, in size, minus of course the Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park. While at first a little peculiar, it proved to be an effective method in making the production a more intimate affair, one where the actors payed attention to the audience and fed off of the atmosphere of the room.

 I wasn't particularly excited to see this play but that is wholly because I was unfamiliar with it. Even after watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie, I was sure that there was no way it could be parodied because it seemed so...bland. I am glad to say that I was very wrong. Not only was the play hilarious, it completely surpassed my expectations (although I wasn't expecting much really). It took me a while to realize that it was only a four person cast, which surprised me even more. I wondered, how are they going to pull this off? Did they plan on using four actors or did someone fall ill right before the play? However it became clear to me that the four person play was, indeed, planned as illustrated by the timing and precision of costume and character changes. What I thought was considerably humorous was during the final minutes of the play when the actor who played Richard Hannay actually addressed the audience, in the midst of several character changes, by saying "it was supposed to be a four person cast" which made the audience laugh with delight.

Overall, I am glad that my assumptions were proven wrong as this turned out to be one of the funniest plays I have ever seen. What made me love it even more were all the tiny little imperfections that result from having a four person cast, or simply just a technical error (when the phone started to ring after Richard Hannay said something about it). The actors realize these little flaws and they roll with it, which only makes the play that much more enjoyable, not just for the audience but for everyone.

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