You may have many words for the year 2020, but for UMEI students, the key word that comes to mind is “adaptability.” When the Covid-19 pandemic meant we could not perform the traditional Grade 11 play, we were still determined to make this tradition a reality. Enter The 39 Steps, an audio drama which our students could record safely and you can enjoy from the comfort of your own cellphone or computer!
Our play, The 39 Steps, is a radio play adapted by Joe Landry based on the 1935 movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock is perhaps still the best known and most influential filmmaker in the world, but The 39 Steps was from his pre-American days and helped establish his reputation as the master of thrillers. The story is a masterful blend of horror, comedy and romance, and Landry’s adaptation keeps the listener on the edge of their seat! Our protagonist, Richard Hannay, must save England from its enemies, all while navigating a tense but spirited relationship with Pamela, whom he meets by chance on his travels. Pamela instantly dislikes and distrusts Hannay, yet fate would have it that it takes a couple to save England! Many have tried but few have succeeded in doing what Hitchcock accomplishes in The 39 Steps: infusing a story of a world on the brink of disaster with the wit, romance, and playful seriousness of a screwball comedy.
As audio dramas and podcasts have risen in popularity, we hope you enjoy this offering entirely acted, edited, and produced by the Grade 11 class of UMEI. The genre and advertisements reflect the style of old time radio plays, so we hope these recordings bring you a sense of nostalgia while entertaining you and your family! Until we can gather again, we present to you The 39 Steps!