She was a real classy dame, a siren in silk stockings. The type of broad whose shade of lipstick alone could halt the traffic on Sunset Boulevard. . .
O.K. so I just made that up. A bit ridiculous, perhaps, but random phrases like that have been popping into my head lately, as I’m currently immersed in all things noir. For those not in the know, here’s the 411 from Wikipedia:
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood’s classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s.
Crime, usually murder, is an element of almost all film noirs; in addition to standard-issue greed, jealousy is frequently the criminal motivation. In other common plots the protagonists are implicated in heists or con games, or in murderous conspiracies often involving adulterous affairs. False suspicions and accusations of crime are frequent plot elements, as are betrayals and double-crosses.
Film noirs tend to revolve around heroes who are more flawed and morally questionable than the norm, often fall guys of one sort or another. Certain archetypal characters appear in many film noirs—hardboiled detectives, femme fatales, corrupt policemen, jealous husbands, and down-and-out writers.
That’s right. Murder! Suspense! Mayhem! Oh my.
My husband James and I are currently at work on a slate of film noir-themed one-act plays aptly named Play Noir, scheduled for production in June at our artistic home, the Actor’s Workout Studio in the North Hollywood Arts District. Scripts have been chosen and casts and directors are being nailed down as we speak. We’ll produce (through our company, Punk Monkey Productions) five short plays, all revolving around classic noir themes like greed, lust and betrayal. Expect trench coats and fedoras, slinky black dresses, ruby red lips, and lots and lots of mood lighting.
Over the next few months, I expect you’ll hear a lot about Play Noir as James and I are not only producing the show, but acting in it and directing a piece or two as well. It is, as we say, a real passion project.
Until next time, friends.