In the infamous 1950, classic film noir, Sunset Boulevard, femme fatal Gloria Swanson stands as Norma Desmond—perched atop of a long winding stairway with her curls coiffed just right, ready for her close-up.
Swanson’s image echoes sentiments of a genre that was at its height of popularity in the 1940’s and 1950’s. But as of recent, the sexy, sassy crime dramas of yesteryears have been miraculously brought back to life by GDP Productions in their latest theatrical piece, Noir. GDP Productions, a self-proclaimed “renegade” theater company, is armed with an original script, live performers, and is ready to steal your heart.
Just like many of the films in the genre, it may take a particularly sly detective to catch Noir’s murderous beauty. But GDP translates the necessary vigor and vim to execute speed and spontaneity without sacrificing quality. GDP Productions is a smaller theater company. They are known for producing both planned performances, written by their own team of local Philadelphia artists, and popup shows in collaboration with BRAT Productions. With no set venue, and the ability to appear all over the city, they are always on the move and could show up just about anywhere–much like the characteristically elusive femme fatal.
Attendees of this weekend’s performances of Noir can expect a multifaceted display of theatrical artistry as GDP Productions strives to create shows in which performers transcend mere acting by incorporating various types of performance media. Noir, specifically, features a seductive live jazz trumpet performance by Jess Brownell, choreographed fights by Oliver Donahue, and a tango dance orchestrated by Melissa Forgione.
The shows director, James Kiesel, is very excited for the company’s debut of Noir. He says, “It's a result of a desire to put some local playwrights' work onstage and to pay tribute to a genre that is well-known, twisted, and doesn't get put onstage very often. It's a gut-grabbing piece, structured in a unique way, and in a space that's perfect for it.” In every show, Kiesel promises his audiences a production with either an incredible fight or a great puppet.
Summer is practically breathing its final hot breaths upon the backs of our necks, and is there really a better way to celebrate summer’s end than with some steamy, sultry, local theater? You can catch Noir before it disappears, from August 7th-11th, at 8 pm in the, very thematically appropriate, dark recesses of Center City’s R Bar. Tickets for the performance are available for purchase in advance on the GDP Productions website. Be sure to have your fascinators and opera gloves ready for this stylish event, it might be time for your close up.