There are only four actors in the Falmouth Theatre Guild’s winter production “The 39 Steps,” but more than 140 roles.
The play is a comedy that combines Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 thriller with a dash of Monty Python. Two of the actors in the show together play dozens of roles.
Tom Pucci of Falmouth, the director of the production, said he was concerned going into auditions.
“Well, to be honest, I was not sure anyone would show up,” he said. “By the second night of auditions, I had tons of talent. I was very excited about the cast I chose.”
How he made his casting decisions was simple. “I thought they gave me the best schtick, which is most important in this farce-type show,” he said.
Mr. Pucci said he learned about “The 39 Steps” from his niece Katie, who majored in theater in college.
“I have my own personal play-reading assistant,” he said. “My plays often start with, ‘Hey Uncle Tommy, I know what show you should direct.’ ”
Playing the lead in the play, a debonair Englishman named Richard Hannay, is Fred Carpenter of Falmouth. He is the straight man for the hilarity that ensues around him.
Playing the female lead—actually three female leads, Annabella, Pamela and Margaret, all with different accents—is Kimberly Boutin of Falmouth. Ms. Boutin said she has been having fun with her parts in “The 39 Steps.”
In a recent interview, she quickly demonstrated their manner of speaking. She started with the guttural tones of the Russian spy, Annabella, segued into a line spoken by the Scottish farm girl, Margaret, and then went to the British accent she uses for the character, Pamela, in the last part of the show.
But most of the heavy lifting in “39 Steps” is done by two actors called “the clowns” who play just about everything but clowns. From portraying a Scottish innkeeping couple to train conductors, to police officers, to international spies, Eric Gomes of New Bedford and Greg Pucci of Falmouth, the 26-year-old son of the director, offer laughs throughout.
They do quick costume changes on stage, with a twirl and a new hat perhaps, and just like that—with a different accent—they have been transformed.
Also helping out in the production as “sign girl” is Anne Krishfield of East Falmouth.
“The 39 Steps” opens Friday, January 31, at Highfield Theater and plays for two weekends, through Sunday, February 9. Shows are 7:30 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 PM on Sundays. Tickets are $17; seniors and students are $15. To order tickets, go to www.falmouththeatreguild.org.
Highfield Theater is at 58 Highfield Drive in Falmouth.