Garrett Players rehearse "Vintage Hitchcock"
The Garret Players rehearse Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play, premiering Nov. 7 at the Fairfield County Library (photo: Garret Players)

Garret Players Set To Take Audiences Back In Time With “Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play”

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The Garret Players are about to take audiences back in time and behind the scenes with Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play. Performances are taking place Nov. 7-9 at the Fairfield County Library in Lancaster.

Written by Joe Landry and directed by Dan Steele, the play is set in a 1940s metropolitan radio station, complete with vintage microphones and “on-air” and “applause” signs. Five actors will play radio personalities who perform Alfred Hitchcock radio dramas.

“Before television was available, families enjoyed radio dramas for entertainment. If you were fortunate enough you would be invited in to see the making of the production at the radio station,” explained Steele.

Audiences will not only get a glimpse of how old-time radio dramas were produced, but enjoy three works by the Master of Suspense: The Lodger, Sabotage and The 39 Steps.

The Lodger (1927) is the story of a man who is accused of being the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper. Sabotage (1936) follows an undercover detective whose cover is blown during his investigation of a bomb plot in London. The 39 Steps (1935) is about a man with top-secret information who is on the run from a spy.

Each of the five actors will play multiple parts, modifying their voices to indicate a new character. The play also includes several other performers who will create live sound effects.

“In this particular show, all of the sound effects are going to be made right there on stage. There’s not going to be any digital sound,” said Garret Players intern Jessica Kull. “We have a person playing piano. If it’s raining, they’re making rain sound effects. If the doorbell rings, we’re pushing the doorbell button. And you’ll be able to see the people doing all of the sound as you’re watching the acts.”

Kull also explained that, in the usual Garret Players style, the play will be performed as a “staged reading.” This means that the actors, who are typically a mix of new and seasoned performers, carry their scripts around during the play. It also means productions can be staged quickly, with just two weeks of rehearsals.

“But as an audience member,” Kull said, “you get so caught up in their acting, that you don’t even realize they’re still carrying their scripts. It just kind of fades into the background.”

This production will also include vintage radio advertisements, voiced by the actors. The cast will sing jingles that, according to Steele, will “comically use some of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous movies and characters to sell products.”

One of the commercials, according to Kull, alludes to one of Hitchcock’s most famous movies: an ad for North by Northwest Airlines–something that will surely get a few smiles out of Hitchcock fans.

“This show has mystery, comedy, spies, explosions and pure entertainment,” said Steele. “The play delves into Hitchcock’s early work but you will recognize his macabre sense of humor, his ability to make the audience uncomfortable with his stories, and his ability to create angst.”

Admission is free, although donations for the Friends of the Library will be accepted at the door. Friday and Saturday show times are 7 p.m. with a Sunday matinee scheduled for 2 p.m.

For more information about The Garret Players, visit their website or Facebook page.