reviews – Noir

The Building Stage presents Noir

What a joy this was to light, the whole production is in greyscale, right down to skin and hair [thanks to the actors for their laborious preshow makeup job]. It is is dark,shadowy , high contrast, sexy, its Noir. And the show is funny, it comes from a clown aesthetic and plays at the noir style. It runs Fri-Sun till Nov 4th.



New City Chicago

“…in terms of aesthetics, Montgomery knows what he is doing. Lee Keenan’s lighting design is crucial–the long, husky shadows; the muted glow creeping through the slats of an unseen window blind, tattooing the wall. (Keenan also designed[actually I collaborated with Blake and Megan on] the set, a soaring space defined by pivoting walls that suggests the slipperiness of truth as it reveals itself in film noir.) ” – Nina Metz

Chicago Reader

“Director Blake Montgomery and his six performers, who collaborated on this 75-minute piece, have distilled film noir to its essence. Ingeniously lit and often wryly funny it has a sort of genre urplot…” – Laura Molzah


Chicago Tribune

“…The Building Stage’s expansive loft space is dark and atmospheric and filled with the shadows of window blinds. It does indeed rain. Attractive women lurk in the shadows. Guys with the right kind of hat and crooked tie occupy the attentions of our iris. And the talented sound-designer Kevin O’Donnell has come up with a score that manages to be every film noir you ever saw, distilled. In the first few minutes, it all feels like a very cool idea at one of Chicago’s newer and more promising creative outposts in the noir-appropriate West Loop…”

The Centerstage Review, by Alicia Eler.
Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

In the dark, crime-ridden world of a 1940s film noir, unthinkable dramas full of mystery and intrigue play out daily. Detectives with brooding stares, lit cigarettes and voice-overs tell the audience what’s going on inside their heads, how a femme fatale-like lady is driving them crazy or how the rain hits the window panes of their low-lit office. In Blake Montgomery’s latest masterpiece, “Noir,” he brings famous lines from a bevy of notable film noirs, including “The Maltese Falcon,” “Gilda,” “Double Indemnity,” “The Big Sleep” and “Lady from Shanghai,” and crafts them into one play that incorporates the quintessential film noir detective and the woman who tempts him into evil.

Unlike more-straightforward, story-telling theatre, “Noir” does not give it to viewers quite so easily. Using two detectives instead of one and four femme fatales, Noir masterfully compresses many film noirs into one during the 75-minute production. The Building Stage differentiates itself from other theatre in the way that the show unravels: No performance is ever the same. Instead, each show is in the “building stages” and evolves during the evening.

Playing on every stylistic film noir element, from the high-contrast shadows to the detective’s ’40s-style desk to the lone streetlight on the dark street outside, Montgomery makes the entire theatre feel like a vintage film set. Each character wears whiteface; detectives brood, keeping up their hard-boiled façade, and the femme fatales play up their alluring characters. Though every performance differs from the previous one, theatergoers with a taste for this American cinema genre will by wowed by Montgomery’s creative interpretations and the cast’s strong grasp of this overly dramatized style of acting.

The Creative Team

conceived and directed by
Blake Montgomery

created and performed by
David Amaral, Eddie Bennett, Sarah Goeden, Fannie Hungerford, Chelsea Keenan, and Daiva Olson.

costume design
Meghan Raham

lighting design
Lee Keenan

sound design
Kevin O’Donnell

production design
Lee Keenan, Meghan Raham, and Blake Montgomery

stage management
Sheena L. Young

assistant lighting designer
Ryan Williams