The Fringe Festival is well underway – and there’s a lot to see! For those of you with a taste for the “noir” or like their detective stories with some style and humour, you will definitely want to check out The Detective, The Dame and The Devil opening this week at the Festival. Bolstering an all-star cast of Montreal theatre talent (Scott Humphrey, Elizabeth Neale and Adam Capriolo), the show promises to be a festival highlight.
I got the chance to talk with writer/actor/producer Scott Humphrey about the show and what it’s like presenting at the St-Ambroise Fringe Festival.
Q: Tell us a little bit about you show.
Scott: The Detective, The Dame, and The Devil is a love letter to film noir… and a parody of it too! But there’s more than meets the eye: what might start as a simple comedy spirals out of control when we get to see the mystery from other characters’ perspectives. Smart, slick, and silly: something for everybody!
Q: How did the show come about?
Scott: I started writing the show almost 3 years ago, originally as a short comedy monologue. It grew into a short show, and then a complex hour-long play with zany characters, callbacks, and far too many puns.
Q: Three years is a long time. What kept bringing you back to the script?
Scott: I loved the idea of the narrating detective from hard-boiled crime films/novels being aware of his own tropes, and able to refer to his own melodrama. That provided me with a jumping-off point when I got to thinking: what would the “Femme Fatale” sound like if she got to narrate her story? What about a devilish, flamboyant villain? I’m so happy to have had as much support as I did along the way with writing and refining… especially from friends who don’t hesitate to tell you when something is a steaming pile of garbage.
Q: You are writing, acting and producing – is it a challenge wearing so many hats?
Scott: Putting on a show is all about the team you can get together, and I’m lucky to have been able to convince some truly awesome people that I know what I’m doing. As soon as rehearsals started, taking off the writer’s hat to slip into some acting shoes was very important to do so that the play felt like any other, where all of the artists’ visions could be brought together by a director. (Stephanie Costa, by the way, has been totally rocking the style and tone of the show and bringing her own spin to it!) Producing a show essentially gets done outside of rehearsals, so at least I can divide my time and not go too crazy! Honestly, for all those returning Fringe producers: how do you do it?
Q: The Fringe is a unique and challenging festival – how’s that been going?
Scott: Being able to take risks is both important and thrilling, and nowhere do people take more risks than at the Fringe! I’ve never produced for the festival before, and so the learning curve has definitely been… steep. Learning about all of the work that happens behind the scenes and then actually trying to manage all of it are two totally different things.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge?
Scott: The biggest challenge so far has been coordinating everyone’s passionate work into a logical timeline. I’m really happy to have the support and experience of my stage manager/production manager, Kate Hagemeyer… she’s the person who gets to say: “Hey, if we don’t have a rehearsal prop in rehearsal by this day, rehearsal won’t really be worth it…” And then that tells me that I gotta get a move on! 🙂
Q: Leave us with a quote or line from the show!
Scott: One of my favourite exchanges from the show: “You sure don’t give a fella a lot of time.” “That’s just my style, Detective: too fast, too furious.”
The Detective, The Dame and The Devil opens June 8th.
Playing at: Théâtre La Chapelle
3700 rue St Dominique, Montréal, H2X 2X7
Thursday, June 8th at 10:00 pm
Friday, June 9th at 5:30 pm
Sunday, June 11th at 8:45 pm
Wednesday, June 14th at 10:00 pm
Friday, June 16th at 8:00 pm
Saturday, June 17th at 5:15 pm
Tickets can be purchased from the Montreal Fringe Festival website