The ticking of a bomb. The chiming of a clock. A slamming door. Hurried footsteps. Dramatic sound effects created live on stage accompany the dramatic stories that play out on stage as the Chattanooga Theatre Centre presents VINTAGE HITCHCOCK: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, opening April 16 and running through May 2.

From the mind of the iconic master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, comes three tales of murder, intrigue, and mistaken identity. These stories come to life in the style of a 1940’s radio broadcast on a stage evoking a radio studio of the period, and a lot is left to the imagination. Standing at old-fashioned microphones with scripts in hand, five actors play dozens of characters. There’s musical underscoring on the organ, and sound effects are created by a Foley artist at a table full of props.

The program consists of three early Hitchcock titles: “The Lodger” (1927), “Sabotage” (1936) and “The 39 Steps” (1935). These were all feature-length films, but playwright Joe Landry has condensed the stories into a two-act play. Landry has done several plays in this vein, including IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, which the Theatre Centre presented in December.

In VINTAGE HITCHCOCK, Landry adapts the works of perhaps one of the best-known filmmakers in the world. However, most people know the Hitchcock of the later period, as the director of “Psycho” (1960) and “The Birds” (1963). But there is also a formidable Hitchcock of an older era, and Landry captures the essence of an authentically vintage Hitchcock of the 1920s and ‘30s.

In “The Lodger,” a serial killer is on the loose, and a family wonders if the villain is the man renting their spare room. In “Sabotage,” the London police must stop a bomber before time runs out. “The 39 Steps” follows an innocent man in a web of spies, thieves, killers, and international intrigue.

Under the direction of Rodney Van Valkenburg, the production features two casts who will perform on alternating dates. They are Emily Adkins, Claire Bartlett, Greer Caldwell, Jeffrey Fowers, Sandra Jennings, Cris King, Dylan Kussman, Richard Nichols, Greg Rambin Sr., and Jason Russell.

John Echols and Helene Haile are the Foley artists, and Andrew Chauncy and Michael Huseman provide musical accompaniment. Jesse Headrick and Robert Soderstrom are the stage managers.

The play will be presented in the mainstage theatre with general admission seating, although capacity will be limited to 20 percent and ushers will seat patrons with several vacant seats and rows between parties. To see the CTC’s 22-point safety protocol, visit TheatreCentre.com/Safety.

Performances are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 7 p.m.

For tickets, call the CTC box office at 423-267-8534 or visit TheatreCentre.com.

Posted April 6, 2021