After months of being dark while it reorganized, the new Darien Arts Center Stage will open with its first production -- the Samuel French play "The 39 Steps" -- on Friday, March 8.
Originally a serious melodramatic novel written in 1915 by John Buchanan about spies, wars, heroes and dames and turned into Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 movie, it was rewritten into a fast-paced, zany farce by Patrick Barlow. Six actors will play 140 roles in the DAC Stage production, which is directed by Darien's Donna McLauglin Wyant, who is assisted by Autumn Howard. The show is suitable for audiences from age 9.
Performances will take place at 8 p.m. on March 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 and at 2 p.m. on March 10 and 17.
Wyant, an alumna of the HB Studio, where she studied acting with Uta Hagen, is an Emmy Award-winning producer and a Clio Award recipient. She has performed in the theater in New York City and Europe. As the executive producer of the Westport Community Theatre, she has produced and directed plays at the Darien Library and in theaters in New Canaan and Westport.
Howard, the assistant director, has a theater degree from the University of Oklahoma, studied acting at Kings College in London and served at the Globe Theatre. She's involved with Shakespeare on the Sound as the house manager.
The DAC's production of "The 39 Steps" will also herald the new audio visual system provided by The Darien Foundation. The high-tech, sophisticated sound system will be put to the test with a production that includes a train, a plane crash, sounds of water and breaking glass.
Jim Mageras, owner of Lancia Sound Factory, has designed a state-of-the-art system for the DAC Weatherstone Studio, a black box theater, which will enhance all the productions that take place in that space.
Ticket are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for students. The DAC encourages early purchases of tickets by visiting arts.darien.org or calling 203-655-5414.