Wednesday, August 31, 2011

39 Steps: 39 Stickers Contest!

Good Evening, 

I mentioned yesterday we had something fun in store for everyone. Today, we announce The 39 Steps Sticker Contest! 


We have placed 39 stickers that look like this: 

all around Douglas and Juneau (Downtown and the Valley)! 

The FIRST person to find all 39 stickers will win a pair of season tickets! A value of up to $272!

There are other prizes as well:
The SECOND person to find all 39 stickers and submit them to the theatre will get a pair of tickets to any show of your choice this season!

Anyone else who finds all 39 stickers and submits them to the theatre will get two free tickets to The 39 Steps!

If you can't find all 39 stickers, that's okay...if you find at least 15 stickers, you will get a voucher for a 2 for 1 ticket for The 39 Steps! 

To win, you must submit (by emailing or coming by the theatre during office hours) a list of the locations and pictures of yourself near the stickers to win.

In a few days, we will start releasing clues to the locations via our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Look for them! 



And we look forward to seeing the winners in...24 days! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

39 Steps: Getting the word out...

Good Evening, 

So far, this blog has been pretty centered on the rehearsal/tech aspects of putting this show. No show is complete, however, without many wheels turning behind the scenes. I'm hopeful that we can highlight some of those here over the coming weeks. 

Beyond productions meetings, sets being built, walls being painted and the actors working through their parts to figure out the why's and the wherefore's, there is an office a buzz with activity. Since The 39 Steps is the first show of the season, there are season ticket brochures being printed and sent, orders coming in, program ads being sold and much more. Much of that happens throughout the year as well, but there's always the beginning of the season push. 

In addition to all of that, we've been meeting on how to best market the show and begin to think about how to engage the audience and others in getting the word out. Since I am not only the director of 39 Steps, but also new on staff here at the theatre and working in areas of development and marketing, I'll look to share some of that process with you here. 

Tune in tomorrow for an announcement on one such activity we've come up with that will be fun and get everyone excited for The 39 Steps in...25 days! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

39 Steps: Roblin

Good Evening, 

Today we have a post from Roblin Gray Davis, who is acting in the show. Enjoy Roblin's post and see all he's doing and more on stage in...27 days! 


What a pleasure it has beeeeen! (Practicing my Standard British dialect there.) There is little as enjoyable as the creativity demanded of the rehearsal process. Playing alongside fellow performer funny man, Jed Hancock-Brainerd, I have the grand challenge of playing a multiplicity of characters with a variety of dialects. The two of us together form a dynamic superclown duo supporting the fantastical story of The 39 Steps. This demands constant playfulness, a grand willingness to try and fail, and a sensitive but resilient spirit. It is great fun to discover the heart of playmaking - le jeu, or pleasure and joy - in the simple act of playing together as an ensemble in the rehearsal hall. It is especially pleasurable to be working on a show originally created by actor-creators like myself but with the full support of Perseverance Theatre behind it all.

It is the end of the second week of rehearsals and we've continued to dive headfirst - starting today into the second act. And phenomenally made it a quarter of the way through thanks to the methodical and ever positive leadership of our director, Bostin, and the kind efficiency of our stage manager, Nikki. The first act of this show is a doozy and the second act just keeps on going. I can't wait until we start jumping around on the stage in costume! But until then, living inside our imaginations in the black box of the rehearsal hall and finding the space where all of our imaginations meet each other is the key. Yours truly, Roblin


Saturday, August 27, 2011

39 Steps: Peek in Rehearsals

Good Evening, 

It's a sneak peek into rehearsals with some pictures ---

And an update on Akiko and here fantastic scenic painting job --

And last, after rehearsal Art Rotch (Artistic Director for Perseverance and The 39 Steps Lighting Designer), Kathleen Harper (Production Mangaer and Props Master) and I did some some testing on the "shadow play" --- testing the fabric we received, the props Kathleen had mocked up (that's also her in the picture) and the light source Art was thinking about using. It's all a go and we were all pretty pleased with the results.

A great day all around...gonna be exciting to see how all these elements come together in...28 days... 

39 Steps: Dialects

Good Evening, 

Working on this show is extremely fun. Part of what makes this show so fun is that four actors take on the entire canon of characters in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. From London to Scotland, many different characters appear and it requires swift characterization in body and speech. 

So, working with our dialect coach, Christina Apathy, is a key part of this process for the actors. It's amazing to see how the voice affects a character. We decided to start with what would be "right" about a dialect, but with this kind of show - a satire / send-up - we will surely be playing with what everyone sounds like and finding the extremes in terms of how that specific character speaks. 

In the coming weeks, I'll have the actors talk more specifically about their dialect process and if, and how, it has impactd the way they worked on the show. 

Enjoy this video of a recent dialect session and get yourself ready to see if you can disguinish who is who and where is where on stage in...29 days. 

[also a fun announcemnet coming next Wednesday about a fun contest we'll be doing...stay tuned]

39_Steps_Dialect_Work.MOV Watch on Posterous

Thursday, August 25, 2011

pic in rehearsal for #PT39Steps for the twitterverse.


39 Steps: Aram

Good Evening,

Greetings Perseverance Blog World!

Aram Aghazarian, here. Perhaps you've seen a portion of my face in a previous posting--my lip is much better, thank you. I'm the fellow playing Richard Hannay in the 39 Steps. For me, the experience has been like making a 200 foot swan dive onto a massive chocolate layer cake. That's what it feels like being an actor in a full on production. I don't do this in Philadelphia--or anywhere. Me and my Strange Attractor colleagues operate more like a garage band or a make-shift laboratory, creating shows from scratch. So, it is both a great challenge and a luxury to be here as part of a team at Perseverance. I'm loving this process and am learning loads. And, despite my diving analogy, there is a lot of time when I'm simply trying to survive moment to moment--Where am I? What do I say? What do I do, now? OH CRIKEY!  

39 Steps: What Happened? Was it a MacGuffin?

Good Evening. 

Well, well, well.... something went crazy with my attempted mobile posting last night. I was trying to give you all a look at a couple of shots...


Not sure where they went in the interwebs, but it's good to know we've got them back! 

So, the pictures are of Akiko working hard on the scenic painting. She's doing an amazing job and I think you will be thrilled with the finished product. The other shot is of the mystery man. Someone I'm hoping you will meet in upcoming blog post. 

The days are full right now. Another production meeting earlier tonight. Things are on schedule. We are looking at doing testing of some scenic/light elements this weekend to get a better sense of how it will work. Sometimes, it's problem-solving at its best. I really enjoy that process, lucky for me. We've got some fun surprises in store. Over the blog I will share as much as I can without giving away too many of those surprises. Let's just say there might be many a MacGuffin in store...


From Wikipedia: Interviewed in 1966 by François Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock illustrated the term "MacGuffin" (sometime McGuffin or maguffin) with this story:[7]

It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says "What's that package up there in the baggage rack?", and the other answers "Oh, that's a McGuffin". The first one asks "What's a McGuffin?". "Well", the other man says, "It's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands". The first man says "But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands", and the other one answers "Well, then that's no McGuffin!". So you see, a McGuffin is nothing at all.


Something that is no Macguffin at all is that you will see many Macguffin's in 31 days...



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

39 Steps: Back at It!

week two begins! Akiko continues to paint. and who's the guy? ah...the tease...

more to come!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

39 Steps…The Day Off

Good Evening,
It's the official day off today. Why Monday?
Seems to come from tradition mostly. Most weekly performances end with a Sunday matinee, with the company getting the Monday off. This carries over to rehearsal and, in my mind, provides rhythm throughout the process.
One other possibility exists:
"One ghost-related superstition is that the theatre should always be closed one night a week to give the ghosts a chance to perform their own plays. This is traditionally on Monday nights, conveniently giving actors a day off after weekend performances." - Wikipedia

Anyone else have reasons that Monday is the "day off"?

No matter the reason, we will take it and rest up for take-off in...33 days...

39 Steps: What a Week!

Good Evening,
What a fantastic week this has been! We ended our first week of rehearsal today, strangely enough, by working on the first scene of the play. Many times, rehearsal starts at the start, beginning with scene one and going from there. But, I think, it all depends on the play.

After our first night of rehearsal, we had two nights of physical exploration and play. If you read Rebecca Noon's blog post Saturday, you will surely have an idea that this is a physical company of actors. We had some questions to explore which would help us on the production side of things (would we need certain set pieces or would the actors be able to do it, etc). I also wanted to introduce the company to this text and work them together as an ensemble, so as we started to approach getting on our feet, instead of starting with Hannay's monologue at the beginning, we began with the train sequence, which I had broken down into four separate "beats".

I was hoping to find an entry into this text through their talents as "physical" performers, i.e., their background in Lecoq-based training. We had a great deal of fun working these moments and I feel that it was the right place to begin.

By Saturday afternoon, we began working with some of the more traditional scene work. Although, I don't think anything in The 39 Steps is all that typical. This work is difficult to describe outside of the room. I don't think I will attempt that tonight except to say that it's creation, in all its various forms - working as an ensemble to discover what the play is telling us and finding in ourselves as artists how best to craft the moments. Let's say this too - it's a comedy, so suffice it to say, we are having a lot of laughs...

...we look forward to sharing this laughter with you in 34 days...

I've pasted a couple of images from the week below. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

39 Steps: And now some words from...

Good Evening,
Today we begin exploring the thoughts of various other members of the company. We start with Rebecca Noon. Enjoy this guest post and see her on stage in 35 days…
Rebecca Noon is a producer, actor and deviser based in Providence, RI. She is a founding member of Strange Attractor Theatre Co. with whom she is currently developing a new play based on Ibsen’s classically “unperformable” epic “Brand”. You can follow more of her thoughts on play-making at

Hello to the Perseverance/39 Steps blog –
I am performing in The 39 Steps, which is a dream play for someone like me, a character actor who loves doing funny voices.  I am playing the three "romantic women": Annabella Schmidt the German spy, Maraget McTyte the demure Scottish lass, and Pamela Edwards the young and beautiful Brit who gets caught up in the lead character's get-away. What's even better is that the other actors in the show are three of my favorite collaborators.
Aram Aghazarian, Roblin Gray Davis, Jed Hancock-Brainerd and I make up the theatrical devising company Strange Attractor.  We have made a few shows together, most recently presenting Phase II of a show in development at the Perseverance 2nd Stage, The Brand Project (working title).  We all met while studying together at the London International School of Performing Arts, which is a Lecoq-based school in London that teaches devising and collaboration and, quite humbly, how to build the theatre of the future.  Since graduating in 2008, we have all been working at doing just that.  In 2009 Perseverance first invited Aram, Jed, and I (who all live on the East Coast) to perform in a show in their season, Eurydice.  Roblin was directing and we all jumped at the chance to work together in Juneau.  The joy of being a guest artist in such a warm and creative community impressed us right away and, at the end of that winter, we all looked forward to returning.  This time however, rather than having Roblin in the director's chair, we are all on stage together, which is always the most fun.
Which brings me to what I am actually the most excited about.  For the past year I have been pretty exclusively devising shows, which at our level means working without a producer or designers or a director.  Truthfully, I love the crazy amount of work that comes from working this way.  I love the all-consuming manic energy that comes with producing a play that you are simultaneously marketing and creating.  However, it does get exhausting.  When Perseverance proposed that all four of us could be actors in this play, supported by a team of talented designers and a generous director who recognizes what we bring as an ensemble, I knew this was a dream come true.  I think we all did.  Jed, Aram and I knew we had to put our East Coast lives on hold for a few months and return to Juneau to take this opportunity to play together in a supportive and creative environment.
And alright!  Enough with the love-fest!  How is it really?  Well. . . great!  We haven't even had a week of rehearsals yet, and so I am sure there is still time to get grumpy and resent working with a script that I can't invent and get annoyed at whatever small thing comes up that feels large at the moment, but for now I am in awe of my capable partners. I sat back at rehearsal last night and watched them work a scene I am not in.  I had one of those moments that comes at the very beginning of some shows where you just say to yourself, oh yeah.  This is going to be good.
-Rebecca Noon

Friday, August 19, 2011

39 Steps: Start at the Start

Good Evening,
Blog/Day #4


Starting at the start is appropriate for today. We have begun. We have begun physical and dialect work with the actors. All departments are ramped up and busy finding props, and building pieces and painting the walls (see photo).
And tonight, we begin working with the text and putting this thing up and playing with it. I ask the actors to learn the lines for each "beat" we will be working so that we can have full play and freedom of movement and expression. We work with the lines first, running them, hearing them, hearing each other say them and it gives me an opportunity to hear rhythms and the language construct in a way that, really, I've only heard in my head before. Then we play and work at building the scene piece by piece, deconstructing the scene in terms of what's going on, where are we, what are the relationships and much, much more. It's another exciting "first" night in the process.
There are many "first" night with the last one being Opening days!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

39 Steps: Productions Meetings and Physical Play...

Good Evening,

…blog day 3...

Things are ramping up.

We had our production meeting yesterday which is run by the incomparable Production Manager for Perseverance Kathleen Harper.

Production meeting are invaluable in the process of creating a show. It’s a chance for all aspects of the production to come together and “check-in”. Make sure everyone is on the same page about who’s doing what, when things are do, and, most importantly to work out any problems that may  have come up and see how to “problem-solve” them.

Yesterday’s meeting went well. At this point, everyone is on track. The walls of the theatre are being painted, the costumes are being pulled, props are arriving in the rehearsal hall. Our biggest conversation centered around incorporating certain elements of the lighting into the set design and making sure that some of the “gags” we are looking at trying to create will come off as we’d like them to. There can be a pretty big difference between the design stage and what actually gets created. There are practical and budgetary concerns which come in to play in all the areas. And, of course, new ideas come up that may be inspired and better than the original. All these options and challenges are explored to help bring the magic alive. It’s a truly collaborative process and a great joy to be a part of.

Also wanted to share how fun rehearsal was last night. You will meet the actors soon through this blog, but here’s a sneak peak at some of the physical stuff we were doing last night.


We were playing around with physical space and how bodies could possibly interact. This may or may not be an image you see on stage in…37 days!

-Bostin Christopher, Director

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Rehearsal Thoughts and a Sneak Peek at the Set

Good evening,’s blog day #2...

Our first rehearsal was amazing. First rehearsal gives everyone a chance to meet and share with the cast all the wonderful design work leading up to the beginning of rehearsal. It’s an exciting time and it was a joy, as the director, to see all these elements intermingling. It also got the actors excited to play and that’s always a joy to watch and be a part of.

We started with introductions and design presentations:


See more of the first rehearsal meet and greet photos are on thefacebook page:

We’ve assembled a fantastic team of designers:

Sheila Wyne – Set

Art Rotch – Lights

Val Snyder – Costumes

Riley Woodford – Sound

Kathleen Harper – Props

And holding us all together is our stage manager: Nikki Dawson

I’m thrilled to be working with all of them!

Now a little sneak peek at part of the set model:


This is part of the world where the show will come to life. Exciting stuff!

More in the coming days. I’m off to our weekly production meeting to get all these moving parts together and ready for opening night in…

38 days.

-Bostin Christopher, Director

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

39 Steps: Good Evening...


Welcome to Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps at Perseverance Theatre!

It’s the 33rd Season at Perseverance Theatre and I have the honor of directing the first show. The 39 Steps is a theatrical romp based on a novel by John Buchan, adapted by Alfred Hitchcock for the 1935 film and adapted again by Patrick Barlow based on an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon. Whew!

It’s part homage to Hitchcock, part tribute to the Theatre and an all-around good time!

Of course, we’ve been working behind the scenes for many months – designing, casting and working toward bringing this wonderful adventure to life. In that time, I’ve been reading a wonderful blog that Ken Davenport, a New York Theatre Producer, has been doing for his Broadway revival of Godspell ( It’s a wonderful behind the scenes look at how a show gets made that he started with 100 days to go until opening. I realized what a treat it would be to do that with our show and when I realized that our first rehearsal was exactly 39 days from Opening night (Sept. 23rd), I didn’t see a way we couldn’t do it.

So, we will take you behind the scenes with a little something each day: set designs, costumes, who’s who on the team, marketing, etc. As much as we can, we will bring you on this ride with us. Enjoy the adventure and we will see you in…

39 Days!

Bostin Christopher, Director