When a guy with a boring life meets a girl with an adventurous life, the world can turn dangerously thrilling.
That's the gist behind the stage show The 39 Steps, which is the first play in the 2013-14 season for the Richland Players, which opens Sept. 6 at The Players Theatre in Richland.
This play, directed by Ellicia Elliott, has more than 100 characters, but only four actors will portray them all.
"The script was written (by John Buchan) for only four actors, three men and one woman," Elliott said.
But that's part of the fun, she added.
"It's one of the reasons this show interested me as a director," Elliott said.
She asked herself if she could tell the intricate, suspenseful and funny story with a small cast and limited set, and her answer was absolutely.
"It was so much fun to be pushed artistically and intellectually in this endeavor," she added.
The dull guy who meets the audacious girl in trouble takes her under his wing and has no idea the perils that good deed has in store.
The woman, who is a spy, ends up murdered, and he finds himself fleeing from a bunch of bad guys who call themselves The 39 Steps.
"The 39 Steps amounts to an unforgettable evening of pure pleasure," Elliott said.
The actors are Michael Thomas, Brianna Sacry, Chris Wilson and Sam Shick. Thomas, 44, of Kennewick, plays Richard Hannay, the good-deed-doer on the run because he's been framed for murder.
Sacry, 27, of West Richland, portrays Richard's three love interests. Shick, 54, of Richland, plays dozens of characters throughout the play, including an aging Scottish farmer and the mysterious Prof. Jordon.
Wilson, 20, of West Richland, also portrays a plethora of characters, including a salesman, housekeeper, policeman and vaudeville performer.
Wilson discovered theater in his junior year at Hanford High, he said.
"I was a three-sport varsity athlete through my junior year," Wilson said. He dropped athletics, however, once the acting bug hit.
The 15 characters he portrays in The 39 Steps, three of which are females, have been the most fun as well as his biggest challenge in theater. Not to mention tackling different accents for his characters, from cockney to Scottish.
"This show is very fast-paced and entertaining," Wilson said. "When you are a month into rehearsal and you're still busting out laughing at the same jokes, you know (the play) is going to be a good one."
Shick agrees with Wilson on the fun factor. He also finds the creative process exhilarating.
"The unique thing about this show, compared to many I have worked on, is the collaborative nature of the creative process," Shick said. He added that Elliott has left the door open for character ideas, and allowed the actors to bring costume ideas into the play.
"The show has proven to be a great acting challenge, as I have needed to learn five different accents," he said. "It is so much fun to come home from a stressful day at work and play like a kid."
The 39 Steps is at 8 p.m. Sept. 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21 with 2 p.m. matinees Sept. 15 and 22. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the Players Theatre box office, 608 The Parkway.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal