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yracuse Stage is committed to providing students with rich theatre experiences that explore and examine what it is to be human. Research shows that children who participate in or are exposed to the arts show higher academic achievement, stronger selfesteem, and improved ability to plan and work toward a future goal. Many students in our community have their first taste of live theatre through Syracuse Stage’s outreach programs. Last season more than 30,000 students from across New York State attended or participated in the Bank of America Children’s Tour, Backstory performances, artsEmerging, the Young Playwrights Festival, and our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the corporations and foundations who support our commitment to in-depth arts education for our community. Children’s Tour Naming Sponsor

Student Matinee Series Sponsor

additional support by

ArtsEmerging supported in part by

John Ben Snow Foundation, Inc.

Kathy & Dan Mezzalingua

The Kochian Family The Bass Family

Backstory Program supported in part by

General Educational Outreach supported in part by

The Golub Foundation

Lori Pasqualino as “Annabel” in the 2010 Bank of America Children’s Tour: Annabel Drudge... and the Second Day of School. Photo by Michael Davis

09/10 SEASON CLASSROOM STUDY GUIDE Content collected and written by Len Fonte Editing, Layout & Design by Michelle Scully

CONTENTS Timothy Bond

Producing Artistic Director Syracuse Stage & SU Drama

820 E Genesee Street Syracuse, NY 13210 www.SyracuseStage.org Director of Educational Outreach

Lauren Unbekant (315) 443-1150

4. 5. 7. 8. 10. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Introduction & Planning Your Visit Teaching Theatre Title Page/Credits About the Play Context About the Authors In the ClassRoom Resources Syracuse Stage Season 2010-11

Manager of Educational Outreach

Michelle Scully (315) 442-7755


Group Sales & Student Matinees

Tracey White (315) 443-9844

Since 1849 National Grid and its predecessor companies have been part of the Syracuse community, helping to meet the energy needs of over two million Upstate New York customers. We are proud to contribute to the quality of life through the energy we deliver and through the many ways we give back to the communities we serve.

Box Office

with additional support by

(315) 443-3275

Syracuse Stage is Central New York’s premiere professional theatre. Founded in 1974, Stage has produced more than 230 plays in 37 seasons including numerous world and American premieres. Each season, upwards of 90,000 patrons enjoy an exciting mix of comedies, dramas and musicals featuring leading designers, directors and performers from New York and across the country, supported by a full-time and seasonal staff of artisans, technicians and administrators.

EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH AT SYRACUSE STAGE The Bank of America CHILDREN’S TOUR brings high-energy, interactive, and culturally diverse performances to elementary school audiences. The BACKSTORY Program brings history to life, as professional actors portray historical figures in classrooms and other venues. artsEMERGING takes students on an in-depth exploration of our mainstage season using a multi-cultural, multi-arts lens. The YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL challenges students to submit original tenminute plays for a chance to see their work performed at Syracuse Stage.

Find us on:



hen the first cavedweller got up to tell a story, theatre began. Almost every culture has some sort of live performance tradition to tell stories. Television and film may have diminished the desire for access to theatre, but they have not diminished the importance.

Live theatre gives each audience member an opportunity to connect with the performers in a way he/she never could with actors on a television or movie screen. The emotions can be more intense because the events are happening right in front of the audience. In the classroom, theatre can be an effective teaching tool. The NY State Teaching Standards value students’ observation of and participation in theatrical performances, both in traditional settings and classroom exercises. We at Syracuse Stage hope that our Study Guides will help you discover a multitude of possibilities for integrating this season’s productions into your lesson plans. We encourage you to delve deeply into our plays with your students and examine not just the story and its themes, but also the manner in which it is told — the casting, visual design, sound design, movement and choreography, and dialogue. If we can be of any further assistance toward this end, please feel free to call our Education Department at (315) 4431150.


“Theatre brings life to life.”

Zelda Fichandler

Founding Artistic Director Arena Stage, Washington DC

PROMPT ARRIVAL gives your students plenty of time to arrive, find their seats, and get situated. We ask that you arrive 30 minutes prior to the performance.

BUSSES should load and unload students on E. Genesee

St., where red cones will indicate bus-only parking. Please do not block the Centro Bus Stop at the corner.

USHERS will escort you to your seats. We request that

teachers and chaperones distribute themselves among the students, and help us to keep students in their seats once seated.

BACKPACKS, cameras, food, and drink are not

allowed into the theatre, nor can we store them. Please leave these items at school or on the bus.

PHOTOGRAPHY and video recording per-

formances is illegal, disruptive, and sometimes dangerous. Cameras and other recording devices, including cell phones, will be confiscated.

SNACKS & SODA, whenever possible, will be available during intermission for $1. These are to be consumed in the lobby only.

RESTROOMS are located in the main lobby, but

please only allow students to exit during a performance in the case of an emergency.


Instead of instructing students to remain totally silent, please discuss the difference between appropriate responses (laughter, applause, participation when requested) and inappropriate noise (talking, texting, etc). 4



Any piece of theatre comprises multiple art forms. As you explore the play with your students, examine the use of: WRITING


Teaching Theatre


A heatre




Most (but not all) plays begin with a script — a story to be told and a blueprint of how to tell it. In his famous treatise, The Poetics, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle outlined

SIX ELEMENTS OF DRAMA that playwrights are mindful of to this day:

Plot What is the story line? Language What happened before the play started? What does each character want? What do they do to achieve their goals? What do they stand to gain/lose?


What ideas are wrestled with in the play? What questions does the play pose? Does it present an opinion on those questions, or leave it to the audience to decide?


Who are the people in the story? What is their relationship to one another? Why do they do what they do? How do their ages/status/etc affect them?

What do the characters say? How do they say it? When do they say it? Do they speak to one character differently than another? Why?


How do music and sound help to tell this story?


What visual elements support the play? This could include: puppets, scenery, costumes, dance, movement, and more.

Other Elements: Conflict/Resolution, Action, Improvisation, Non-verbal communication, Staging, Humor, Realism and other styles, Metaphor, Language, Tone, Pattern and repetition, Emotion, Point of view.

At its core, drama is about characters working toward goals and overcoming obstacles. Ask students to use their bodies and voices to create characters who are: very old, very young, very strong, very weak, very tired, very energetic, very cold, very warm. Have their characters interact with one another. Give them an objective to fulfil despite their environmental obstacles. Later, recap by asking how these obstacles affected their character and the pursuit of his/her objectives. 5

Teaching Theatre


Most plays utilize designers to create the visual world of the play through scenery, costumes, lighting, and more. These artists use


to communicate information about the world within the play and its characters. Have students discuss these elements BEFORE attending the performance and ask them to pay special attention to how these elements are used in the production’s design. Whether your students are observing a piece of visual art like a painting or a piece of performance art like a play, allow them first to notice the basic elements, then encourage them to look deeper into why these elements are used the way they are.

LINE can have length, width, texture,

direction and curve. There are 5 basic varieties: verticle, horizontal, diagonal, curved, and zig-zag.

SHAPEis two-dimensional and encloses space. It can be geometric (eg. squares and circles), man-made, or free-form.

FORMis three-dimensional. It encloses space and fills space. It, too, can be geometric (eg. cubes and cylinders), man-made, or free-form.

SPACEis defined and determined

by shapes and forms. Positive space is enclosed by shapes and forms, while negative space exists around them.

COLORhas three basic properties:

HUE is the name of the color (eg. red, blue, green), INTENSITY is the strength of the color (bright or dull), VALUE is the range of lightness to darkness.

TEXTURErefers to the “feel” of an object’s surface. It can be smooth, rough, soft, etc. Textures may be ACTUAL (able to be felt) or IMPLIED (suggested visually through the artist’s technique).



Timothy Bond

Jeffrey Woodward

Producing Artistic Director

Managing Director

PRESENTS a co-production with Cleveland Play House

Adapted by Patrick Barlow From the novel by John Buchan From the movie of Alfred Hitchcock Directed by Peter Amster

Oct. 20 - Nov. 7 Gunshots, murder, and dastardly plots; seductive spies, thrilling chases and serious flirtation; they’re all part of this rollicking comedy/mystery and Broadway hit. Based on the 1935 classic film by Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps follows Richard Hannay as he sets out for a night of music hall entertainment only to be ensnared in a dangerous attempt to smuggle top-secret information out of the country. Four actors and ingenious and inventive staging prove that anything movies can do, theatre can do more hilariously. The 39 Steps premiered in London in 2006, won a Laurence Olivier Award in 2007 for Best New Comedy, and won two Tony Awards when it transferred to Broadway in 2008. Now playing off-Broadway at the New World Stages, the play features four actors performing 150 different roles. The 39 Steps is a co-production with Cleveland Play House. 7


About play

“What are the thirty-nine steps?” a mystery a comedy a thriller a tour-de-force

The novel

In the days leading up to Word War I, Scottish adventurer Richard Hannay finds his neighbor, an American spy, at the door of his London apartment asking for refuge. He tells Hannay of a plot by a German espionage ring, which is pursuing him with murderous intent. When the American turns up dead in his flat and Hannay is the only suspect, he decides to take up the man’s cause and expose the ring. This leads to a wild race through Scotland, with our hero pursued by both police and villains while he searches for the meaning of the code words “Thirty-Nine Steps” scrawled in the American’s notes.

Hitchcock’s film

It’s shortly before World War II. Canadian Richard Hannay is watching the amazing Mr. Memory perform in a music hall when shots ring out in the theater. In the fray, a panicked young woman begs him to take her to his flat. There she admits that she is a spy pursued by bad guys. She warns him against a man missing the middle joint of his finger and cryptically mentions “The Thirty-Nine Steps.” When she turns up with a knife in her back, Hannay is the only suspect, and he runs off to find the meaning of the thirty-nine steps. To avoid detection on a train to Scotland, he enters a private compartment and plants a kiss on its sole occupant, a comely blonde named Pamela, who promptly alerts the police. He escapes by jumping from the train onto the Forth Rail Bridge. When, improbably, he again crosses paths with Pamela, they become handcuffed together, unwilling partners in spy-busting. The journey eventually takes them back to the music hall theater, where Mr. Memory holds the secret to the thirty-nine steps.

The play

In Patrick Barlow’s adaptation, most of the elements and characters of Hitchcock’s version of the ThirtyNine Steps are retained and played for laughs in a very physical style by four comic actors. The script is littered with visual and verbal references to Hitchcock’s most famous films.



About play

cast of characters

Four actors (3 men, 1 woman) play every role in the production: ACTOR 1

ACTOR 3 & 4

Richard Hannay

The Clowns play all the other characters,

– our intrepid

hero; a bored businessman looking for excitement, and finding more than he bargained for.

often several within the same scene, including: Professor Jordan – the criminal mastermind behind the 39 Steps Mr. Memory – a man with a dark secret and a photographic memory who exibits his talents as part of a vaudeville act Compere – Mr. Memory’s friend and Emcee Crofter – a Scottish country farmer and Margaret’s jealous husband Mr. McGarrigle – a well meaning inn keeper who provides shelter for Hannay and Pamela as they run from Jordan’s henchmen Mrs. McGarrigle – the inn keeper’s wife, a hopeless romantic who keeps Hannay and Pamela’s presence at the inn a secret


Annabella Schmidt – a German

spy whose murder (at his house) embroils Richard in the adventure;


– the beautiful stranger who

becomes a reluctant partner in Richard’s escape; and Margaret, a Scottish country wife who assists Richard.

The clowns also play a variety of policemen, henchmen, inspectors, pilots, salesmen, government officials and numerous other roles, male and female alike. Information Source: “The 39 Steps” Engagement Guide by LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE Department of Education & Outreach




Alfred Hitchcock better known by the younger generation for the ambience of his films rather than through the films themselves


he name “Alfred Hitchcock” even evokes a shiver from people who have never seen any of the sixty-six movies he directed. The man who practically invented the suspense film started his career writing title cards for British silent films in 1919 and quickly moved into directing, becoming a major force in the British industry with the coming of sound. His mid-1930s trio of thrillers, The Thirty-Nine Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and The Lady Vanishes were international hits and brought the director to Hollywood’s attention. By 1940, Hitch was on his way to America, where he spent the rest of his career and became a household name. Although he’s justly recognized as master of the story-telling camera, every shot of Hitch’s movies was worked out in advance in elaborate graphic novel-like drawings called storyboards. The director often boasted that by the time the camera started rolling, his work was done and the rest was boring to him. Of course, this didn’t always endear him to actors, especially when they recalled his quote that “Actors are cattle.” Hitchcock denied ever saying that, correcting the comment to read, “Actors should be treated like cattle.”


by Len Fonte The 39 Steps is the first of several Hitchcock films in which an innocent man is chased cross-country accompanied by a beautiful but icy blonde woman. His careertopping chase occurs in 1959’s North by Northwest with Cary Grant pursued across a cornfield by a crop-dusting plane and scrambling across the Mount Rushmore monument. Hitchcock often propelled his plots through the use of what he called a McGuffin, a device, usually an object, that everyone is after and in the long run is just an excuse to keep a story going. In The 39 Steps, it’s the question, “What are the thirty-nine steps?” By the 1950’s his deadpan introductions to the long-running TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents made the rotund director the most recognizable man in America. Not that he had been invisible before this. Hitchcock made a cameo appearance in each of his films. When spotting Hitchcock started to become an audience distraction, he just made his appearance early in the film to get the delighted “There he is!” out of the way.


What is a

Characters on the T.V. show The Family Guy will often make references to other books, shows, movies, and otherwise. The 39 Steps does that, too! Throughout the play, the characters reference many of Hitchcock’s films like Psycho and North by Northwest. While many books, television shows and movies pay homage to other works and artists with references and parodies, there are entire works that are composed of just that (you might actually argue this description fits TheFamily Guy perfectly). This kind of work that imitates other works and/or is composed of a medley of pieces taken from various sources is called pastiche. A Pastiche isn’t simply limited to referencing scenes or lines from other works, however, as it can also reference time periods, historic figures, places, styles and just about anything else you can think of. The key to a pastiche is that it’s referential, typically in a tongue-in-cheek (ironic or funny) kind of way. Sometimes the referencing isn’t obvious, as the pastiche may utilize the thing it references for its own style and tone. Further, the term pastiche can be used to refer to anything from a book to a movie to music and more, as just about any art form lends itself to being referential in one way or another. And of course, one form can reference another, like a movie referencing music, for example. While there are many artists and works that comprise the pastiche movement, here are a few of the more popular, recent pieces and artists that you might recognize. Can you think of any more? Source: The Repertory of St. Louis, “WU@theRep” The 39 Study Guide, Season 2009-2010




[pa-steesh] –noun 1. a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources. 2. an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc., taken from different sources; hodgepodge.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. This song is pastiche as it references various musical styles all in one song, including opera, a cappella and heavy rock. Quentin Tarantino Quentin Tarantino’s work is pastiche in that it often pays tribute to pulp novels, blaxploitation and kung fu films. Weird Al Yankovic Weird Al’s work as a whole is pastiche, as he doesn’t actually write his own songs so much as he re-writes the songs of others. Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”

Weird Al’s version: “Eat It”

They Told Him How come you’re Don’t You Ever always Come such a fussy young Around Here man, Don’t Wanna See Don’t want no Your Face, Captain Crunch, You Better don’t want no Disappear Raisin Bran, The Fire’s In Their Well don’t you Eyes And know that other kids Their Words Are are starving in Really Clear Japan, So Beat It, Just So Eat it, Just Beat It. Eat it.




ohn uchan

Born in 1875, the son of a Scottish clergyman, Buchan went on to a career as a diplomat, finally becoming Governor-General of Canada. He was rewarded for his career with the title Baron Tweedsmuir. Buchan wrote his novels for his own entertainment. The ThirtyNine Steps was written in 1914-1915. The daring hero, Richard Hannay, was featured in many of Buchan’s later novels.


atrick Barlow

is an English actor, comedian and playwright. He is the founder, Artistic Director, and Chief Executive of the two-man National Theatre of Brent, which has performed on stage, on television and on radio. Barlow’s adaptation of The 39 Steps premiered in London in 2005.



BBC: The British Broadcasting Corporation. At the time of The Thirty Nine Steps, BBC radio provided news and entertainment. George V: The King of The United Kingdom in 1935, when The Thirty Nine Steps takes place. Gorse: A spiny bush that grows on the moors. Liverish: Bad tempered; irritable. Loch: The Scottish word for lake. For us, the most famous loch is Loch Ness, home of the famous monster. Madame Tussaud’s: The world’s most famous wax museum, featuring very life-like figures of celebrities and historical figures. The original Madame Tussaud’s in London includes a chamber of horrors illustrating gruesome crimes and infamous criminals. Moors: Large tracts of open wild uncultivated land. In English literature and theater, the moors are often the setting for spooky or suspenseful doings. Music Hall: The English version of Vaudeville, a type of theater consisting of a variety of different acts including magicians, comedians, singers, dancers, and novelty acts, such as Mr. Memory. With the advent of film and television, music hall slowly went out of style. Procurator Fiscal: The office responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland. The West End: London’s theater district. Like Broadway in New York City, it’s lined with dozens of theaters. Supernumerary: A person or thing present far in excess of the number necessary. Mr. Memory mispronounces it as “supermernunermunery.”


On Your Mark!

Divide the class into groups of three or four. Each group is assigned to write a story that should be completed in as many chapters as there are students in the group. The stories must feature an innocent person on the run and a McGuffin.

in the

A Creative Writing Activity based on The 39 Steps Tone, Point of View, Voice, and Characterization


“But you’ve got the wrong man!”

Get Set!

In the small groups, students determine who the fugitive is, what the McGuffin is and start and end points of chapters. At the end of each chapter, the hero boards a new mode of transportation, which should also be determined by the group.


Then each student in the group takes one chapter to write with complete freedom except for those predetermined pieces. At the next meeting, after a quick group meeting to align beginning and end points, a group representative reads the story from his/her group without identifying the authors. What’s it all mean? Every student writer has an individual voice. When the writers are finally identified, discussion can center on how the creative process worked for each, how the tone changed from chapter to chapter, and how personal voice influences the tone.


Suggested modes of transportation:

Suggested McGuffins:

cattle car mail truck firetruck roller coaster whatever else you like

a strange wine bottle a pair of lovebirds a suitcase full of money a very heavy trunk whatever else you like

A McGuffin is a device, usually an object, that everyone is after and in the long run is just an excuse to keep a story going. In The 39 Steps, it’s the question, “What are the thirtynine steps?”

This lesson addresses NYS English Language Arts Standards 1, 2, and 3.




ArtsWork.com http://artswork.asu.edu/arts/teachers/resources/theatre1.htm ChildDrama.com http://www.childdrama.com/lessons.html Educational Theatre Association http://www.edta.org/publications/teaching.aspx Kennedy Center http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/teach/hto.cfm Viola Spolin http://www.spolin.com/

INFORMATION SOURCES & RESOURCES Books McGilligan, Patrick. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light, Harper Perennial, 2004. Want to know about the man behind the mystery? Check out this book to learn the master of suspense’s deepest, darkest secrets! Films Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, 86 minutes, Miracle Pictures, 2002. Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, 136 minutes, Warner Home Video, 2009. If you dig The 39 Steps then you just might like the similar tale of North by Northwest. Other Educational Outreach Material and Study Guides La Jolla Playhouse http://www.lajollaplayhouse.org/KBYG/The-39-Steps The Cleveland Playhouse http://www.clevelandplayhouse.com/images/Fiile/pdfs/10- 11/39Steps_SG.pdf



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