Student actors perform Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller ‘The 39 Steps’ in Līhuʻe
December 7, 2022, 6:30 AM HST
* Updated December 7, 8:57 AM
“Horrible things” are in store for Kaua‘i High School student Lilinoe Walters. But the ninth-grader from Kalāheo, who will be framed for murder by an international spy ring, couldn’t be more excited.
Walters’ misadventures in murder and mayhem will occur on stage in “The 39 Steps,” a comedy based on the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller by the same name.
The play, which will debut at at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Līhu‘e on Friday, is the latest production of the Kaua‘i Performing Arts Center. It is one of 29 Hawai‘i State Department of Education Student Learning Centers located throughout the state.
Walters and 11 other students from Kaua‘i High School and Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School held a dress rehearsal at the Convention Hall on Monday.
“My character is Richard Hannay … He brings (a woman) to his home, and she gets stabbed,” said a suit-and-tie clad Walters. “They say I did it!”
Kaua‘i Performing Arts Center is the Education Department’s only Student Learning Center on the Garden Isle. Middle and high school students from any public or charter school on the island may join the program, which puts on two stage shows per year, for elective credit.
“The 39 Steps” is Walters’ first production with the Kaua’i Performing Arts Center. She and ZinChin Cadiz, who plays multiple roles, joined the program at the suggestion of fellow Kaua‘i High School student Madeline Gregerson.
Gregerson stars as the mysterious woman whose murder kicks off the plot of the play. The ninth-grader from Līhu‘e believes audiences don’t need to be familiar with the play’s source material to appreciate its humor.
“It does have a lot of references to the works of Alfred Hitchcock, so if anyone’s a diehard fan, they’ll definitely notice them,” Gregerson said. “But I think the main part that people are drawn to is the comedy … Like any good media, you should be able to follow it without any prior knowledge.”
Cadiz is enjoying her introduction to the theater. She credits the program with fostering her sense of creativity.
“The KPAC family is always so welcoming. You have them there and they have your back,” she said.
The Kaua’i Performing Arts Center is led by teacher Carla Kirk, who has directed the program’s stage productions for nearly four years. (Recent shows have included “School House Rock,” a musical based on the classic animated educational videos, and “The Alibis,” another comedic murder mystery.)
“I want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves,” Kirk said. “I definitely want my students to learn, through the class, what it is that they want to do in life.”
“The 39 Steps” will premiere at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9, at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall at 4191 Hardy Street in Līhu‘e. Performances also are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 11.
Tickets are $10 and may be purchased online or at the door.
For more information about the Kaua‘i Performing Arts Center, click here.