Spy Thriller Parody ‘The 39 Steps’

Spy Thriller Parody ‘The 39 Steps’

39 StepsTales of intrigue on a cinematic scale come to the Austin College stage when The 39 Steps is presented November 15 through November 17, with shows at 7:30 each evening. Tickets are $8 for the general public or free with a current Austin College ID. The Austin College Improv Troupe will perform each night after the feature play. For more information call 903.813.2281. The script includes some simulated violence and gun play but no significant adult themes.

The script by English playwright, actor, and comedian Patrick Barlow is a stage adaptation of the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the classic 1935 movie by Alfred Hitchcock. The play is unique because the more-than-130 characters included are played by only four actors. Words like spy thriller, comedy, and “a dash of Monty Python” have been used to describe the production that premiered in June 2005 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Austin College senior Jacob Dowling of Little Rock, Arkansas, selected the script and directs the student production. “I wanted to do something that would be challenging to put on a stage, and not the usual thing of people standing on stage just talking about their problems. I wanted to do something bigger, cinematic, and also fun. The 39 Stepschecks all those boxes,” he said.

With all the elements of a spy thriller, The 39 Steps includes staging feats and the humor of parody while the story travels from London to the Scottish highlands.

Main character Richard Hannay, played by senior Marissa Wilkinson of Wilsonville, Oregon, is framed for a crime and is on the run from the police. Vignette adventures unfold including three different love interests, all played by senior Sarah Klawun of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and a plane chase that references Hitchcock’s classic movie North by Northwest. Junior Robbie Moore of Garland, Texas, and senior Bailey Carrell of San Antonio, Texas, play the many remaining characters in the story.

The student production includes the following production staff members: sophomore Michael Megenhardt of Houston, stage manager; junior Drew Maienschein of Claremore, Oklahoma, and Kat Forbus of Plano, Texas, assistant stage managers; senior Matthew Rapier and Erin Bobbit both of Plano, Texas, sound designers; junior Aurora Hadzic of New Market, Maryland, costume designer; and Harper Jambor and Abbey Goodman both of Austin, Texas, properties designers. Liz Banks, associate professor of theatre, designed the set and lights.

In December, the Austin College directing class will present a series of one-act plays.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change LivesAustin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

Austin College Theatre Department Opens Season

Austin College Theatre Department Opens Season

Sherman Texas | September 24, 2017

The Austin College Theatre Department will open its season with Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan September 28-30 at 7:30 p.m. in Ida Green Communication Center’s Beardsley Arena Theatre. General admission is $8 or free with the presentation of a valid Austin College ID. For more information, call 903.813.2281. Advisory: the play includes significant profanity.

the Cripple of Inishmaan

A Talk Back with the cast will follow the September 28 performance; a performance by Austin College’s Improv Troupe will follow the September 29 production.

The play, directed by Dan Pucul, a 2004 graduate of Austin College and the Theatre Department’s full-time technical coordinator, is a dark comedy set in 1934 Ireland—specifically a tiny island in the Galway Bay called Inishmaan. The plot centers around Billy Claven, the town’s orphan boy who’s been deformed from birth and lives a quiet life with his two adopted aunts, Kate and Eileen, in their general store. That is, until one day when JohnnyPateenMike brings news that an American named Robert Flaherty will be directing a new film on the neighboring island of Inishmore. “The Cripple of Inishmaan is a play about what makes a place a home and what make people a family,” Pucul said.

The cast includes senior Emma Grundy of Wichita Falls, Texas, as Cripple Billy Claven, with senior Sarah Klawun of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and freshman Abby Goodman of Austin, Texas, playing aunts Eileen and Kate, respectively; sophomore Kyle Andrle of Allen, Texas, Bartley McCormick; junior Harri Drake of Whitesboro, Texas, Slippy Helen; senior Matthew Rapier of Plano, Texas, as JohnnyPateenMike; senior Christopher Cooper of Midland, Texas, BabbyBobby Bennett; sophomore Alexandra Baker-Livingston of Richardson, Texas, Mammy O’Dougal; and freshman Harper Jambor of Austin, Texas, Doctor McSharry.

The design team includes sophomore Anna Kat Forbus of Plano, Texas, costumes; senior Bailey Carrell of San Antonio, Texas, sound; freshman Nick Chaviers, projections; junior Aurora Hadzic of Lubbock, Texas, and senior Rebekah Urban of Whitesboro, Texas, “commanders of the Prop Army.” Liz Banks of the theatre faculty designed the lights, and Pucul designed the set.

In November, the department will present the melodrama The 39 Steps, based on the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock spy thriller. In the production that guarantees “lots of laughs,” four actors play 130 characters in the 100-minute production. Senior Jacob Dowell of Little Rock, Arkansas, will direct the production. In December, the directing class presents an evening of one-act plays to showcase student work.

Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.

Theatricks to hold 3 day play writing conference

Theatricks to hold 3 day play writing conference

Theatricks Play Writing ConferenceStages Back & 4th!

Youth theater Playwriting Conference

Sherman Community Players’ youth theatre, Theatricks, is hosting a very fun and active theatre conference, STAGES (Student Theatre Artists Generating Entertaining Scripts), this summer for the fourth year now.

The conference will be held June 8,9,10, 2017 in the historic Kidd-Key Auditorium in Sherman, TX. The focus of the three-day conference will be the creation of 10-minute one-act plays. The plays will be performed on the Kidd-Key stage on day three of the conference. Students in grades 6 through 12 are invited to attend.

Day One

The conference will kick-off with a workshop taught by award-winning playwright, Ruth Cantrell, who will share her expertise as she instructs participants in the process of writing a play.

Ruth currently works with the Dallas Children’s Theatre as a teacher. Before that she was the professor of Theatre Arts at New Mexico State University in Las Cruses, NM from 1985 to 2012 where she taught: Script Analysis, Acting I, Acting II, Acting Styles, Creative Dramatics, Playwriting, and Introduction to Theatre. Her plays are published by Youth Plays (www.youthplays.com). While in New Mexico, Ruth was awarded the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence and Achievements in the Arts (New Mexico’s Highest Arts Award).

Following the playwriting workshop, students will actively participate in a session on improvisational technique taught by professional Lindsay Goldapp. During this activity, students will learn tools which will aide them in the development of a storyline.

After lunch, participants will be divided into groups to begin writing 10-minute one-act plays. Each group will choose a storyline to base their play.

After dinner, there will be a fun MURDER MYSTERY social event for everyone to participate in hosted by Theatricks’ teen theatre group, the Supporting Cast.

Day Two

On day two, groups will finalize their scripts and turn them in to be judged by Ms. Cantrell. Local artists will be on hand to assist each group by providing information about the selection of props and costumes available for their performances.

After lunch, each group will rehearse and take turns on the Kidd-Key stage, with the assistance of a lighting and sound operator, to discuss technical preparations for their play productions. Groups will also finalize costume selections with the assistance of a local costumer.

The evening’s festivities will take place at The Rialto Theater where all can enjoy an interactive evening at a vintage movie theatre, viewing a classic one-man cowboy show, THE COWBOY AIN’T DEAD YET! (TCA traveling artist). Don’t forget to dress up in your western wear.

Day Three

On day three, all groups will make their final modifications and hold dress rehearsals in preparation for performances on the Kidd-Key Stage.

The culmination of the weekend, of course, will be the performances of the one-act plays. The first performance will begin at 6 p.m. There is no charge for the performances, and the public is invited to attend. At the conclusion of the evening’s performances, awards will be presented for “Best Written Script”, “Best Produced Play”, “Best Actor” and “Best Actress”, “Best Use of Theatrical Elements”, “Most Creative Character Costume”, and “Best Use of Costume Elements” among others.


The STAGES Conference registration fee is $75.00 per registrant and includes participation in all workshops, the six served meals, the opening night social event, the evening at the Rialto, and the opportunity to meet and make new friends and acquaintances. Registration forms can be obtained from Theatricks’ website (www.theatricks.org) or call 903-893-8525.


Guests coming to Sherman but not participating in the conference (parents, younger siblings, etc.), can enjoy a variety of fun activities offered by Sherman’s Downtown Businesses and Museums.