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.
Director of Performing Arts
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.
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
|Annabella Schmidt||Isabelle Milsom|
|Margaret McTyte||Isabelle Milsom|
|Clown 1||Bailey Lock|
|Clown 2||Ethan Bald|
|Set Design||Chris Hill|
|Scenic Artist||Kerry Reid|
|Poster Design||Aiden Le (PAC 2020)|
|Costume||State Theatre Prop Shop|
|Head Technician||Jay Rayner|
|Stage Combat||Ruth Fallon|
|Stage Manager||George Atmadja-Sharp|
|Acting Coach||Brendan Tomlins (PAC 2020)|
|Backstage Stage Manager||Patrick Femia|
|Stage Crew||Tom Deakin/Charlie Smart|