Out & About

BOX SEAT: Highlighting stage and screen

By Melanie Byas -- Telegraph columnist

Lovers of "all things Alfred Hitchcock" -- dubbed "Hitchockians" here -- will want to see "The 39 Steps," currently in production by the Perry Players. This play is a mash-up of the 1915 spy novel by Scottish historian John Buchan and the 1935 thriller film by the English director. (By the way, it's an interesting note that the film has a complicated copyright status that depends upon in which country you live. For example, it was in the public domain for many years in the United States until 2012.)

This two-time Tony-winning and Drama Desk Award-winning play is packed with nonstop laughs and its structure requires that the entirety of the adventure be performed by a cast of only four. As the play's website says, it is "packed with over 150 zany characters (played by a ridiculously talented cast of four), missing fingers and some good old-fashioned romance!"

Because all those 150 characters are portrayed by only four actors, it requires that they make very fast character changes and often must play multiple characters simultaneously while on stage. Although devoted Hitchcockians like myself might be distracted by the fact that the film's serious spy story is played mostly for laughs, they will appreciate that the script often refers to other Hitchcock films, including "Strangers on a Train," "Rear Window," "Psycho," "Vertigo" and "North by Northwest."

See "The 39 Steps" and experience big laughs during its last two performances, tonight and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Call 478-987-5354 for more information.


All month long the Historic Douglass Theatre has presented an abundance of educational and entertaining events to commemorate Black History Month. Its annual Black History Film Series closes tonight with the screening of the popular 2015 movie, "War Room."

The inspirational Christian drama -- directed and produced by the Kendrick brothers (respectively, Alex and Stephen) -- tells the story of a family dealing with many of life's daily struggles and spiritual challenges. It also demonstrates the power of prayer!

Regarding the title of the film, director Alex Kendrick said, "We called it 'War Room' because, like the military, we should seek God for the right strategy before going into combat" with the "daily issues we face in our culture."

Tickets are not required for this free screening of "War Room," which starts at 7:30 p.m. Call 478-742-2000 for more information.

Contact Melanie Byas at melanie@retrowarehouse.com.