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Performing Arts Update

14 May 2021

On Friday 30th April, Year 12 Drama students blazed a trail at PAC for the first time in many years as they presented Hitchcock’s classic noir thriller, The 39 Steps, adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow.

Year 12 Drama students present The 39 Steps

This was a very special milestone in the growth of Performing Arts at Prince Alfred College. As the first SACE Drama performance to be staged at the College since 2007, I am delighted to have been part of this journey and to be able to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Rebecca Hassam, Ethan Bald, Bailey Lock and Mitch Parker who worked extremely hard to bring this story to the stage.

‘The stiff upper lip is a difficult concept to get across in a loose-limbed country.’ - So says Maria Aitken, a prominent British director about the challenges for Australian actors of bringing to the stage well-known characters from the 1930s: more specifically, about a play that takes sly, inventive liberties with the notion of British heroism, with the concept that emotional display is rather vulgar and that danger must be faced with undemonstrative restraint and comic consequences. These gigantic challenges have been faced head-on by Ethan, Bailey and Mitch, expertly guided by director Mrs. Hassam. The play is playful, but there is no room to play around. The energy and rapid physical transformations demand precision and control, and it is these skills which I have had the privilege to watch develop over the years in all three boys. The time they have given to their work, the energy, dedication and commitment which is vital and which is modelled every day by Mrs. Hassam, the depth of understanding and appreciation of theatre that has taken root and flourished is testament to the quality of the Year 12 Drama program at PAC. Their success paves the way for others to follow.

Paula Little
Director of Performing Arts

Director’s Note

The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow, is a play that pays homage to Hitchcock’s signature elements. With his layered scenes, ambiguous characters and sustained tension, not only was this an exciting project to work on but through our close text study but we can now truly appreciate why Hitchcock is the master of suspense.

Barlow’s clever use of slapstick and physical comedy punctuates the sense of chaos and adventure intended in the production. The Year 12 Drama class were immediately drawn to the comic characters, the fast-paced style and the classic thriller elements. Following on from their studies of comedy and farce in Year 11 Drama, The 39 Steps is a natural successor but a challenging play to master with its vocal and physical demands on the performer.

Focusing on Richard Hannay’s objective to free his name, the traverse stage was set as a runway track with the audience in close proximity to the action-filled scenes. Richard Hannay darts from one scene to the next, escaping another moment of acute danger. Journeying through the action the audience, like Hannay, become suspicious about who to trust as the plot unravels, mirroring the existing tensions in pre-WW2 1935. This foreboding tension was accented by shadowy noir lighting, edgy sound effects, the grey/blue-toned set design and dark filtered vision. However, Hannay’s dangerous situation is balanced by moments of comfort and hope through his meeting of trustworthy wholesome people he values. The contrast in the set with bright coloured ochre tones and amber filtered lighting at the end signifies Hannay’s encouragement for a better world. With cryptic information and dubious leads, Richard Hannay takes on the challenge to save his country. Jumping through windows, escaping from trains, hanging off bridges and dodging bullets - in amongst the chaotic adventure, Richard Hannay comes to realise what’s missing in his life: a person to love.

Rebecca Hassam

Special Thanks

The families of Year 12 Drama students: The Parker Family, the Lock Family, the Bald Family. Thank you for your commitment and support. Bradley Fenner, Paula Little, Brendan Tomlins, Kerry Peterson, Dan Woolford, Octavian Nadu, Mike Oomens, Mosaic Audio Visual, Corpralite, Osmonds Electronics, Andrew MacGregor, Ben Evans, Maintenance Staff, Facilities/Events Staff, State Theatre Company.

The 39 Steps
Adapted by Patrick Barlow


Richard Hannay

Mitch Parker
Annabella SchmidtIsabelle Milsom
Margaret McTyteIsabelle Milsom
Clown 1Bailey Lock
Clown 2Ethan Bald
ProducerPaula Little
DirectorRebecca Hassam
Set DesignChris Hill
Scenic ArtistKerry Reid
Poster DesignAiden Le (PAC 2020)
PropsRebecca Hassam
CostumeState Theatre Prop Shop
Hair/MakeupChristina Calipari
Head TechnicianJay Rayner
Stage CombatRuth Fallon
Stage ManagerGeorge Atmadja-Sharp
LightingJosh Brazier
SoundJack Miller
VisionVasilis Michalakis
Acting CoachBrendan Tomlins (PAC 2020)
Backstage Stage ManagerPatrick Femia
Stage CrewTom Deakin/Charlie Smart

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Year 11 Drama: Falling Short

Year 11 Drama presents Falling Short, a collection of raw and gritty realism style twentieth century American Drama performances written by Arthur Miller, Sam Shepherd, David Mamet and Edward Albee. It showcases portraits of men experiencing a momentous situation and who are on the brink of transformation. Up close and personal, these men speak with wholehearted conviction and the audience is transported on a journey to uncover the truth behind their words. Witnessing the deconstruction of masculinity, the audience experience the competition, conflict, struggle, bargaining deals, acts of passion and failure these characters suffer. Whilst some of these men are stuck in the past, others are enlightened and honest about their shortcomings.

Falling Short is a night of raw and gritty drama not to be missed. It will be performed on Wednesday 9 June, 7pm in the Prince Philip Theatre. All are welcome but please ensure you book via Trybooking due to limited seating available.

Performing Arts – Music

Drum Corps - Mother’s Day Classic Fun Run

Following their first appearance at the Mother’s Day Classic Fun Run in 2019, the PAC Drum Corps were once again invited to take part in this very special event. Having run in an online format in 2020, participants were out in force with bright pink attire and big smiles on their faces happy to be out for a jog or stroll with friends and family to raise money for breast cancer research.

Five members from Drum Corps took part this year, led by Director, Mr Frank Fragomeni and Year 11 student Matthew Adams. They were positioned on a bend of the linear trail near the Torrens Weir and Par 3 Golf course, energising fun runners with their lively beats and skilful playing. Many applauded as they passed by, some stopped for photos, and one lady remarked, “We’ve been hearing the drums all the way across the river and so we’re excited to be finally seeing you!”.

It was a lovely morning for a worthy cause, and we thank Mr. Fragomeni, the boys, staff and all parents involved for enabling PAC to support a wonderful community event like the Mother’s Day Classic.

PAC Drum Corps