Since Fort Edmonton Park built a replica of the old Jasper Avenue Capitol Theatre on site, it has introduced a broad swath of old-timey styled productions.
Under artistic director Dana Anderson’s watch, it introduces a theatrical form that is once more gaining popular momentum – the radio play.
Running Oct. 1 to 5, Capitol Theatre runs Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play, a re-enactment of three early films directed by the master of mysteries.
“We chose it because it coincides with the era of the theatre. The original theatre was built in 1918 and it probably screened some of Hitchcock’s films,” said Anderson.
The three stories are set in the style of a 1940s radio broadcast. A cast of five actors plays dozens of characters in addition to creating live sound effects and musical underscoring.
The high-energy cast is made up of St. Albert businessman Jeff Halaby, Yvonne Desjardins, Rachel Kent, Aaron Macri and Andy Northrup.
Los Angeles based Joe Landry adapted, transcribed and shorted three films: The Lodger, Sabotage and The 39 Steps. Total showtime is 120 minutes.
“All have a macabre twist and it’s all about mystery. Each one is creepy,” said Anderson.
In The Lodger a serial killer dubbed The Avenger is loose in London murdering blonde women. A landlord, a blonde daughter, a jealous detective and a mysterious lodger all boost the menacing ambiance.
“It’s basically the story of Jack the Ripper,” Anderson described.
Sabotage instead has the earmarks of today’s terrorism. In the Second World War’s early stages, a man is part of a gang of foreign spies operating out of London. His cover is a small cinema he operates until Scotland Yard assigns an undercover detective.
Last on the bill is The 39 Steps, a playlet about the classic mistaken identity.
“It’s about cold war intrigue. It’s not what it seems. None of them are what they seem,” said Anderson.
In addition to reading lines, actors will dash across the stage making an abundance of sounds from birds, car motors, sirens and swinging doors to ticking bombs, fog horns and assorted music.
“Alfred Hitchcock is a master of storytelling, and that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s worth it to come down, be transfixed and drift off into the past,” said Anderson.
Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play
Oct. 1 to 5 at various times
Fort Edmonton Park
Tickets: $18/advance; $20/door. Visit fortedmontonpark.ca