by Derek Hann, Havre Daily News, March 17, 2019
Montana Actors’ Theatre has set for its opening night Friday at the Havre Eagles Club to perform “The 39 Steps,” its traveling dinner theater.
MAT will be performing “The 39 Steps” each Friday and Saturday for the next two weeks at the Eagles Club before taking the show on the road.
MAT Artistic Director Jay Pyette said the dinner theater will also be performing at the Chinook Eagles Club and The Coyote Club in Shelby as well as a venue in Lewistown. In Havre, meals will be offered at the Havre Eagles Club separately from the show, he said. For the first week, the Eagles Club will offer a prime rib dinner, he said, and the second week the meal will be shrimp and flat iron steak.
Veteran MAT member Casey Pratt is directing “The 39 Steps,” with a cast of Grant Olson, Morgaine Lomayesva, Barry Brownlee and T.C. Knudson.
Pratt said one of his favorite things about the performance is that the actors, other than the lead, play multiple roles.
Lomayesva plays four roles and Knudsen and Brownlee play 12 to 13 characters apiece.
Pratt said his favorite scene in the play is a scene involving a train. The hero is running from the police and passes some salesmen who don’t recognize him, he said, during that scene Knudsen and Brownlee, who are playing the salesmen, switch characters mid scene, right in front of the audience.
The play is based off of an Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name, which was based off of a novel also of the same name, Pratt said. Both the film and the novel are spy-mystery thrillers, he said, although the version of “The 39 Steps” MAT is producing is a farce on the idea and a comedy.
He said MAT has done dinner theaters for several years, with the troupe trying to do one every year.
Pratt has been involved with MAT for 15 year, directing a number of plays, he said, although this is the first dinner theater production he has directed.
After MAT determined that he would be directing, Pratt said, they determined that “The 39 Steps” was the play they wanted to produce.
“My favorite part of the play is working with these talented actors,” he said. “They really take direction well, trying to bring across the vision I want to see put up there on that stage. They are doing an excellent job; it’s really funny.”
He added that the show will be funny and encouraged people to come and enjoy themselves.
“If you like to laugh and you like to eat, you gotta come see this show,” Pratt said.
Photos by Ryan Berry