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"The 39 Steps" Delivers Laughter and Thrills in College Park HS Theatre's Spectacular Production

Intimate Black Box Setting Transformed into Thrilling Espionage Adventure

College Park High School's Theatre Department has outdone themselves with their production of "The 39 Steps." This adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's classic film has been reimagined to include a larger cast, adding depth and richness to the storytelling. The Black Box theater provides an intimate setting for this fast-paced and hilarious production, drawing the audience into the action from the very beginning. With all performances, including the upcoming shows on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, completely sold out, the production has stirred considerable excitement within the community.

Directed by Samantha Segura, "The 39 Steps" has taken a bold step away from the original four-actor format, instead featuring over 30 students from College Park High School. This adaptation not only allows for a richer exploration of the classic story but also highlights the depth of talent within the school's theater department.

"The 39 Steps" follows the story of Richard Hannay, a man who finds himself embroiled in a web of espionage and intrigue after a chance encounter with a mysterious woman. Set in 1930s London, the play takes the audience on a thrilling journey as Hannay races across Britain in an attempt to clear his name and unravel the mystery of "The 39 Steps."

In his final production at College Park High School, Senior Bentley Reeves has delivered an outstanding performance in the lead role of Richard Hannay, captivating audiences with his remarkable portrayal. Reeves's dedication to the character is evident in his physicality, as he adeptly tackles the challenges of the role. His decision to sport a real mustache adds an authentic touch to his performance, showcasing his commitment to bringing Hannay to life on stage. Looking ahead, Reeves will be attending College of the Mainland in Texas City, Texas near Galveston next year, a testament to his talent and dedication to his craft. Reflecting on his experience, Reeves shared, "Performing in this production was difficult for us because of the number of lines and scenes to be involved in—33 scenes. It's a very physical role." His portrayal of Hannay is a testament to his skill as an actor, and audiences can expect to see great things from him in the future.

Freshman Torrey Reeves, portraying Mrs. Memory, has also delivered a memorable performance, describing it as her biggest role yet at College Park. Torrey Reeves is actually senior Bentley Reeves's little sister, adding a familial element to the production. Torrey Reeves, who attended Knox Junior High School and participated in theater for two years, brought her own flare to the audition process, surprising even the director with her talent. She is seen as a star in the making, and the College Park community looks forward to seeing her in future performances. Her final death scene is skillfully played, adding to the impact of her performance. Torrey almost steals the show when answering questions as Mrs. Memory with a performance that's accurate and engaging.

Gwendolyn Butler, a junior and veteran performer at College Park, has charmed audiences with her portrayal of Pamela. Butler, who is in the class of 2025, has been involved in six College Park productions and is known for her musical talents, playing the violin. She previously played the fiddler in "Fiddler on the Roof," showcasing her versatility as a performer. Butler's ability to display the evolution of her character's emotions towards Richard Hannay throughout the production has been remarkable, showing her growth and transition right before the audience's eyes.

Butler's quote, "The show will knock your socks off," captures the energy and excitement of the production, inviting the audience to join in the fun. It's important to note that this inside joke can only be understood by seeing the show.

From the suspenseful performance of Annabelle Schmidt, portrayed by Nox Albright, to the captivating portrayal of Margaret by Nora de Grijs, the production is a testament to the talent and dedication of the students involved.

Albright's portrayal of Annabelle Schmidt adds a layer of suspense and drama to the performance, setting the tone for the rest of the play. Her ability to captivate the audience with her performance is truly remarkable and sets the stage for the thrilling journey that follows.

De Grijs's performance as Margaret is equally impressive, showcasing her ability to match Bentley Reeves's physical acting prowess. Her portrayal of Margaret, particularly in scenes where she is dragged across the floor, is both convincing and captivating, highlighting her talent as a standout actress.

Other standout performances include Christaniel Gonzales as Compere, Thomas Diggs and Silas J Kendrick as Salesmen, and Jackson Bienek as Professor Jordan. Understudies Ariana Gilbert, Pola Dyduch, Lila Gunderson, Corrine Alvarez, David Schwartz, and Chloe Holladay have also contributed significantly to the success of the production.

The production's use of props has been particularly noteworthy, with the small space never feeling crowded despite the large cast. Technical Director Chris Beineman, responsible for the props, has ensured that the small space never feels crowded despite the large cast and has done an exceptional job in creating and managing the props, ensuring they are effective and enhance the storytelling. An extraordinary transition onto a moving train has been a highlight, showcasing the creativity and technical skill of the production team.

"The 39 Steps' is a must-see theatrical experience. The talented cast, creative production team, and innovative direction make this production a standout success."

Sound design, a crucial element in any theatrical production, has played a significant role in enhancing the audience's experience. Sound Designer Olive McClain's meticulous work, including finding and incorporating 98 sounds into the production, has helped set the tone and atmosphere of each scene. The timing of sound effects has been crucial, especially during key moments such as the opening and closing of doors, adding depth and realism to the performance.

College Park High School's production of "The 39 Steps" has received high praise, particularly for Director Samantha Segura's visionary approach to the play. Segura's reimagining of the production to include a larger cast has allowed more students to participate, showcasing their talents and dedication. In her third year at College Park and 12th year of teaching, Segura expressed her pride in the students, stating, "I'm incredibly proud of what our students have accomplished with 'The 39 Steps.' They've shown dedication, passion, and talent beyond their years." Segura's passion for Alfred Hitchcock and farce comedy is evident in the production, creating a memorable experience for both the audience and the students involved. Her innovative direction has breathed new life into this classic story, making it a must-see event for all.

Costume Designer V.M. Parker dresses the myriad characters in period-appropriate attire that enhances the authenticity of the setting. Stage Manager Ethan Watson ensures seamless transitions between the fast-paced scenes, crucial for maintaining the play's rhythm.

Behind the scenes, the production is supported by a team of talented understudies, including Ariana Gilbert, Pola Dyduch, Lila Gunderson, Corrine Alvarez, David Schwartz, and Chloe Holladay. Their dedication and commitment ensure that the show runs smoothly, even in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

The success of "The 39 Steps" is a testament to the talent and dedication of College Park's theater department. The remaining performances are sure to be a hit, with audiences eagerly anticipating the final shows of this remarkable production.


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