A 1920s set of the Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘Psycho’ evolves into a present-day search to uncover the relics of an unfinished film in the London play, ‘Hitchcock Blonde.’
The critically acclaimed hit made its recent American premiere on Broadway before opening at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Repertory on Feb. 3.
Writer and director Terry Johnson and honorary producers Valerie and Geoff Fearns showcase Hitchcock’s affinity for blondes in this turbulent play that intertwines the movie-maker’s voyeuristic fetishes into three different story lines..
The story takes place in three periods that are decades apart (1919, 1959 and 1999), all of which show traces of Hitchcock’s desire to cast blondes in his thrillers.
A quick shuffling of props indicates a transition between two of the three time periods but doesn’t disrupt the storyline.
Jennifer (Adriana DeMeo), a college student, and her media professor Alex (Robin Sachs), star as the two researchers who take refuge in Alex’s Greek villa for a 1999 summer soiree of uncovering unidentified parts of a Hitchcock film.
The play opens with the two discussing her class assignment after which Alex offers her the opportunity to study the rusty reel.
Torn between a summer with classmates and a trip with her professor, Jennifer is quick to accept once she finds out the reel is an old Hitchcock film.
The play cuts into scenes from the 1919 set of ‘Psycho’ as Hitch (Dakin Matthews) films the Blonde (Sarah Aldrich) who poses as the body double for Janet Leigh in the famous shower scene in ‘Psycho.’
Throughout the play, portions of the mysterious film are projected onto a wide black backdrop as they are scrutinized by the student and her professor. The rusty reel uncovers some of the best scenes of the movie and the two embark on a quest to understand the aesthetic elements of the movie including the presence of the killer, Norman Bates.
The story contains elements of both tragedy and comedy when the professor asks his student to make love to him. She is initially disgusted by his offer, reminding him of their age difference and accusing him of luring her to the villa for purposes other than research.
However, in a pivotal scene, we see the girl give in to her professor’s desire and the two become lovers. It isn’t long, though, before she notices that his interest in her begins to dwindle. His flattery turns into hostility and she is left without any attention from the man whom she grew to like on an intimate level.
As the story switches back and forth, the 1919 set of the movie parallels Alex and Jennifer with Hitch and the blonde. Both men have a fascination with their women, but no truly deep connection.
Hitch nonchalantly describes the shower scene to the blonde and informs her that she will be absolutely naked during the filming.
As a married woman, she is nervous about being filmed in the nude, but is in desperate need of the money.
The shower scene on stage is intense as the blonde peels off her white terrycloth bathrobe to reveal her bare self to Hitch’s camera and the curious eye.
More than just a scene in his movie, the important scene fulfills Hitch’s voyeuristic fetish. He loved blondes