’39 Steps’ is a ‘big, fun, crazy romp’

WHS production opens Friday

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o Tristan Fackler - Richard Hannay

o Danielle Devall - Pamela

o Keira Stogin - Anabella, Mr. McQuarrie, ensemble

o Matthieu Grant - Mr. Memory, Mr. Dunwoody, ensemble

o Carson Connors - Professor Jordan, Salesman, ensemble

o Riley Miller - Salesman, Mr. McGarrigle, ensemble

o Yerania Arriola - Comapre, Mrs. Jordan, ensemble

o Shelby Brock - Heavy, ensemble

o Evan Hoff - Heavy, ensemble

o Aubrey Howell - Mrs. McGarrigle, ensemble

o Shannon Leininger - Pilot, ensemble

o Alexis Perez - Pilot, Lt. Albright, ensemble

o Zach Kettleston - Inspector, Milkman, ensemble

o Bridgette McCarthy - Margaret, Mrs. Higgins, ensemble

o Alex Wilmoth - Crofter, Priest, ensemble

o Gabe Heinrich - Sheriff, ensemble

o Courtney Burton - Announcer, ensemble

o Sean Leheny - On stage tech

o John Sunderland - On stage tech

o Vanessa Schegg - On stage tech

o Tristan Fackler – Richard Hannay

o Danielle Devall – Pamela

o Keira Stogin – Anabella, Mr. McQuarrie, ensemble

o Matthieu Grant – Mr. Memory, Mr. Dunwoody, ensemble

o Carson Connors – Professor Jordan, Salesman, ensemble

o Riley Miller – Salesman, Mr. McGarrigle, ensemble

o Yerania Arriola – Comapre, Mrs. Jordan, ensemble

o Shelby Brock – Heavy, ensemble

o Evan Hoff – Heavy, ensemble

o Aubrey Howell – Mrs. McGarrigle, ensemble

o Shannon Leininger – Pilot, ensemble

o Alexis Perez – Pilot, Lt. Albright, ensemble

o Zach Kettleston – Inspector, Milkman, ensemble

o Bridgette McCarthy – Margaret, Mrs. Higgins, ensemble

o Alex Wilmoth – Crofter, Priest, ensemble

o Gabe Heinrich – Sheriff, ensemble

o Courtney Burton – Announcer, ensemble

o Sean Leheny – On stage tech

o John Sunderland – On stage tech

o Vanessa Schegg – On stage tech

Student actors who will be performing in the upcoming Washougal High School production of “The 39 Steps,” have been working hard in rehearsals since January. They are eager for the curtains to be drawn on opening night.

“Now we’re at the finish line,” said drama teacher Kelly Gregersen. “They are ready to perform this in front of an audience. They want the laughs; they want the reaction.”

The show will run at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, March 13 and 14 and 20 and 21, at the Washburn Performing Arts Center at WHS, 1201 39th St.

“The 39 Steps” was adapted by Patrick Barlow in 2005 from a 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film.

The production, which takes place in 1930s England and Scotland, combines comedy and adventure.

“It’s a funny spy thriller, if there is such a thing,” Gregersen said.

Gregersen saw the play on Broadway in 2008, and then again last summer in a performance put on by Lakewood Theater Company in Lake Oswego, Ore. It was during the latter that he began to visualize his own students putting on the production.

In the original production, 100 roles were played by just four actors. In the version WHS students will be performing, some students will be playing several roles, although not to the same degree as the original.

“Most of the cast is still playing multiple roles,” Gergersen said. “Two students play six characters in one scene, at the same time.”

“The 39 Steps,” appropriate for audience members of all ages, can certainly be described as unique. It has minimal set, and features elements including shadow puppets, a technical crew that introduces props in front of the audience during live scenes, and a chase scene that winds through the audience.

“It’s been a few years since we’ve done something this crazy,” said Gregersen, who has led the drama department for 11 years. “It’s a big, fun, crazy romp. It think the audience is going to have a great time.”

Gregersen said the students participating in this production are well-suited for this play.

“I’ve got a group that handles screwball comedy very well — that’s a good thing,” Gregersen said. “This is such a fun, funny group of kids. They will handle this really well.”

The two leads are played by senior Danielle Devall in the role of Pamela and junior Tristan Fackler in the role of Richard Hannay. They have had acting parts in numerous WHS productions, but these are the first primary lead roles for both of them.

Devall, 18, describes Pamela as “proper and elegant, but kind of ditsy.”

“She’s a free spirit type of girl,” Devall said. “Pamela gets confused easily, but she is a very lovable character.”

Devall has had roles in 11 WHS productions, including Minnie Fae in “The Match Maker” and Marty in “Grease.” She said she was thrilled to get the lead this time around.

“I finally accomplished my goal,” she said, describing her thoughts when the cast was announced. “The last play of my senior year, I got the lead. It was an honor. I have been enjoying every minute of it.”

Fackler has performed in six WHS productions. In “The 39 Steps,” he plays the “straight man” who reacts to the antics of a variety of strange and eccentric characters.

“He thinks he is suave, debonair and charismatic,” Fackler said. “He acts like that, but he gets pushed around the whole show.”

This is a departure for Fackler, who has typically played roles that have distinct characteristics and attributes. Portraying Hannay is a welcomed challenge.

“As a straight character, you don’t have that crutch — it’s entirely about your reaction.”

Fackler said he has family members flying in from Hawaii, Arizona and Colorado to see him perform.

“This will be the first show they have seen me in,” he said. “I’m really excited.”

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