Worthing Drama Company will be offering The 39 Steps as its second production, with performances at the Sealight Theatre, Worthing College from June 1-3.
Director Simon Vyvyan is confident it will see the new company continue to build on audiences.
For their first production, The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchall, they achieved audiences at around 45 per cent of capacity; with this one, they would like to reach 60-70 per cent. “And then we would like to be hitting 70 and 80 per cent as we go forward,” Simon says. “Bearing in mind we are a brand-new company, we did very well with the first production in terms of reviews and reaction and got what I would consider a good audience.”
Choice of play is certainly a factor: “Plays determine the people you get taking part. Ultimately people want to do certain things at certain times, whether it is comedy or tragedy, but doing something like The 39 Steps now should appeal to people, something not long off the West End stage and also a great challenge for the actors to be in. We are doing something that not many societies would take on. You can do this play in a number of ways. You could have four people playing the 40 parts or 40 people playing 40 parts. We have got a cast of seven, with about 25 or 26 of the parts played by two people. There are about a dozen roles for each of them. Some of them are very quick change, just changing on stage.”
The show is a spoof on the original The 39 Steps novel which was made into a popular film: “Both of them were very serious, but this is very satirical, lots of Naked Gun-style humour – great fun.” The idea is a send-up of the secret agent spy drama, with Hannay, the hero of the piece, arguably a forerunner of James Bond. As Simon says, you can expect plenty of chases – and plenty of laughs.
It will also help establish the new company in people’s minds as an important new performance group on the Worthing scene: “This is our second production. It was myself and five other individual that set up the company towards the end of last year. We had each of us been in other companies, but we were looking for something different, focused on new writing, new theatre, newer plays. None of us had come across anything like it in Worthing before. We felt it was needed. Some of us had been thinking about it for quite a while, and we got the ball rolling. We approached various people for funding and we did a successful crowd-sourcing campaign as well. And we knew a number of members of other societies that might be interested.
“There are a number of societies that have been struggling, but there is no doubt that people want to do it. There is a demographic. It relies on certain people of certain abilities and certain ages, people that have got time.
“And Worthing is good. You have got enough people of retirement age that have got the time, and you have got young people with energy and vitality, and you have also got some people that have been around the block!”
http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/WDC. 7.30pm start.
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