“The 39 Steps” to Compete in Drama Festival Finals

William Reed, Layout Designer

On March 16th, members of the Visual and Performing Arts’ drama program performed The 39 Steps, a parody adapted from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 movie. This play is one of the contestants entered into the annual Massachusetts High School Drama Festival, a festival featuring 112 plays produced by high schools in the Boston area. Directed by drama and film studies teacher Monica Murray, The 39 Steps has made it all the way to the state finals after winning at the semi-finals the weekend of the 16th.

The story of The 39 Steps begins with Canadian Richard Hannay (Max McGibbon ’21) returning to his newly purchased flat in London. He soon becomes involved in an international spy ring related to the mysterious “39 steps.” Later, Hannay meets agent Annabella Smith (Emma Weller ’20), who is soon killed in his apartment. He must avoid the police, who are pursuing him for a murder he did not commit. Hannay is assisted by Pamela (Micaela “Mica” Leon Perdómo ’19), an unwilling accomplice.

CRLS is well-known for its phenomenal theatre department. The fall musicals, winter festival plays, and spring play skits are always well-attended and well-received by their audiences. Because of the wonderful teams that put each play together, theatre at Rindge is always spot-on.

There’s a lot more new talent this year, with a different acting style than Rindge is used to.

However, the adaptation of The 39 Steps performed by the cast at CRLS is a bit different than past performances. It is a farce play: a comedy that attempts at entertaining the audience through over-exaggerated situations, and in this one, an old mystery movie.

Junior Stella Harris is the student stage manager for this production. Reflecting on the unique nature of this play, she explains, “The whole entire performance is a radio play, so the majority of the sound effects don’t come from the [offstage sound system] but the actors on stage, who have found tools to imitate things like car horns and filing handcuffs.”

Leon Perdómo has had many leading roles in other productions at school. As a senior this year, she compares The 39 Steps to her past experiences. She says, “There’s a lot more new talent this year, with a different acting style than Rindge is used to.”

Reflecting on the semi-final performance, Rachel Alexander ’19, who plays a henchman, states that “semi-finals was definitely our best run.” She continues by saying, “We gave it everything we could, and it looks like that worked!”

Finals for the Massachusetts High School Drama Festival is a multiple-day event from March 28th to 30th.

Good luck to the cast and crew of The 39 Steps during the end of the festival!


This piece also appears in our March 2019 print edition.