Director Suellen Wilkin watched her actors rehearse intensely. Her face showed what they were doing, saying, and feeling. She was like a child watching a magic show, in awe.
“I kinda get into it,” Wilkin said laughing. “This play, The 39 Steps, is an adaptation by Patrick Barlow, and was an Alfred Hitchcock movie. It’s got funny scenes, scary scenes, and everything in between. It’s a love story with mystery.”
The lead actress, Susan Cook, plays three roles: Anna Belle, Margaret, and Paula. The lead actor, Brian Allison, plays Hannay, the main male character in the play.
The play is part of the Leeds Arts Council. Performance dates are Feb. 15,–17 and 22-24 at the Leeds Theatre & Arts Center in downtown Leeds. Go to leedsartscouncil.org for more information and times.
The 39 Steps is a 1935 British thriller that is loosely based on the 1915 adventure novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. It is about an everyday civilian in London, Richard Hannay, who becomes caught up in preventing an organization of spies called the 39 Steps from stealing British military secrets. After being mistakenly accused of the murder of a counter-espionage agent, Hannay goes on the run to Scotland and becomes entangled with an attractive woman in the hopes of stopping the spy ring and clearing his name.
Cook, the lead actress, is an English Literature teacher at Jefferson State Community College.
“Playing three different women is definitely challenging, but it’s also a lot of fun. I have to make sure I know who I am in all the different scenes,” Cook said. “I love this play, it’s deep in some places, light and funny in others.”