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‘Thirty-nine Steps’ is a ‘do not miss’

Director KevGiese explains scene Matt Bliss Paul Bylen Rachel Stewart three macharacters from Portage High School producti“The Thirty-Nine Steps.” |

Director Kevin Giese explains a scene to Matt Bliss, Paul Bylen and Rachel Stewart, three main characters from the Portage High School production of “The Thirty-Nine Steps.” | Photo provided

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If you go

What: “The Thirty-nine Steps”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, and Saturday, Nov. 17;
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18

Where: Portage High School, 6450 U.S. 6

Tickets: $7; may be purchased at the door.

Updated: December 16, 2012 6:39AM



Get ready for a time of “rollicking, nonstop fun” as Portage High School presents “The Thirty-nine Steps.”

The play is based on a novel written in 1915 by John Buchan. It is considered one of the first spy stories. It became a British spy thriller filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935. In 1996, Patrick Barlow adapted the concept developed by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon that took the original serious spy story and turned it into a comedy with a twist.

Traditionally the play is performed with a cast of only four people who play all the parts. Kevin Giese, auditorium director at Portage High School, decided to take a nontraditional approach.

“With a student body of 2,700 kids, I want to give as many kids as possible the experience of being onstage. I took the script, which was very male dominated, and reworked it a bit so that we have a cast of 38 kids — 17 males and 8 females. Every person in the show will have at least one line.”

Giese describes the play as a madcap comedy.

“Think Monty Python meets the Keystone Kops,” Giese said. “There are wild chase scenes, planes flying and crashing, a flock of sheep and a marching band all on stage. It is completely ‘out of the box,’ unlike anything you’ve seen performed here before.

“I’ve got a fantastic cast, and I’ve been pushing the kids to be outrageous with their characters and take some chances. The main character, Richard Hannay, is played by Matt Bliss. He played George last year in ‘The Wedding Singer.’ Matt is not only great on stage, he’s number one in his class. It helps that he’s so smart because he’s on stage for 99 percent of the play.

“Rachel Stewart plays Pamela, Richard’s love interest. She’s his reluctant sidekick for the second part of the show. But no matter how reluctant she is, they are bound to be together because they are handcuffed to each other!”

Cast member Clarissa Tokash, a senior, described the play as “very Monty Pythonesque.”

Her sister Anabelle Tokash, a freshman, said, “It’s just so fun! We’re breaking new bounds!”

“It’s one weekend only. It’s a DO NOT MISS!” Giese advised.



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