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2:46 PM Fri, Sept. 21st

Going off half-Hitchcocked: PCA takes 'The 39 Steps' for a satiric climb

Courtesy photo<br>
Prescott Center for the Arts presents two weekends of “The 39 Steps,” based on an Alfred Hitchcock movie, beginning 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the 208 N. Marina St. theater. Director Linda Miller described the show as a fun, unconventional farce.

Courtesy photo<br> Prescott Center for the Arts presents two weekends of “The 39 Steps,” based on an Alfred Hitchcock movie, beginning 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the 208 N. Marina St. theater. Director Linda Miller described the show as a fun, unconventional farce.

Uncouth or not, ask that woman you met at the theater whether she's a spy before taking her back to your place. Such foresight could save you a cluster of headaches involving murder, espionage and a few "North By Northwest"-style chase scenes.

But maybe you're the kind of person who learns best from fables. No worries - the Prescott Arts Center has you covered.

This Thursday through Sunday, and the following weekend, a cast of four and crew of more than a dozen present "The 39 Steps," a stage adaptation and riff of Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film of the same name. That movie, incidentally, is an adaptation of a1915 serial thriller by John Buchan.

"There are a few references to well-known Hitchcock movies and a lot of music interludes from his shows, but the play pretty much stands on its own," Director Linda Miller said. "It's a real challenge to stage, but it's fun and unconventional."

Part of that is because the male lead, Richard Hannay (played by Sean Jeralds), encounters a mob of characters, including a mysterious woman (Joanne Robertson) and oft- and ne'er-do-wells (Cason Murphy and Glenn Velguth).

"I've seen some descriptions of the show that say there are more than a 100 roles, but, honestly, I counted and only came up with about 40," Miller said, playing coy. "The other fun thing is all of the set changes."

The all-woman crew transports characters across a negotiation of planes, trains and automobiles that would make Steve Martin's head spin.

"The gentlemen who adapted this for stage were from Northern England," Miller said. "They thought it would be funny to leave in all of the impossible things from the Hitchcock movie and do it with just four actors."

This is the first community theater production of the play, Miller said.

"The 39 Steps" has won honors including the 2007 Laurence Oliver Award for Best New Comedy.

Evening performances are 7:30 p.m. April 12-14 and 19-21; admission is $17 for adults and $13 for patrons 18 or younger. Afternoon performances are 2 p.m. April 15 and 21; admission is $13 for adults and $9 for patrons 18 or younger. All performances are at the Prescott Arts Center, 208 N. Marina St., in Prescott. Call 445-3286 or visit www.pfaa.net for more information.

Keep an eye out for a metaphysical homage in the Prescott production absent from the original.

"Hitchcock always made an appearance in his films," Miller said. "We made sure he's in there."