It was a dark and stormy night. The rain dripped into my glass of gin, dampening my spirits. Then suddenly, out of the shadows, he was there – Bruce Boeck. Well, of course he was there. After all, I had asked him to do an interview about his play, “Library Noir.”
And it’s not just any old play. It’s a 10-minute play, one of eight featured this season at Heartland Theater’s 10-Minute Play Festival, opening June 6 and running through the 29th.
Each year, Heartland Theater invites playwrights from all over the world to submit 10-minute plays for the festival. The festival has a different theme each year around which the playwrights must weave their narratives. This time around it’s The Library.
“Library Noir” is Boeck’s third play to be accepted to the festival, so he’s well acquainted with the challenges of squishing characters and action and plotlines into a mere 10 minutes.
“Something has to happen, but you’ve got just 10 minutes, really 10 pages to do it,” Boeck said. “And can you do it in a believable fashion.”
Helping achieve believability is the director of the show, Keven Wickert, whom Boeck credits with allowing him a chance to fully collaborate in bringing “Library Noir” to life.
“Technically, he doesn’t have to listen to anything I say, so I’m pleased that he does.”
Boeck said Wickert kept him in the loop even after the author departed on a European jaunt.
“We left the day of auditions, so Kevin is sending me emails—‘This is who auditioned, and this is who I selected’—and he even videotaped the first read though of the script. I am on a bus traveling between Prague and Vienna, and the bus has wi-fi on it. I’m watching the first read through of my script on my phone somewhere on the other side of the planet. You don’t get much better collaboration than that,” he laughed.
The title of “Library Noir” gives the audience a head start on what to expect in Boeck’s 10-minute play. Yes, there’s tough guys and femme fatales and a heart of pure film noir.
“If you’ve watched any films in that genre, this will look somewhat familiar. I immersed myself in the genre to get the lines to sound authentic.”
Boeck took inspiration from the Humphrey Bogart classic, “The Maltese Falcon.”
“I downloaded the script of 'Maltese Falcon,' and I read the book and watched the movie,” he explained. “The way it’s put together is so amazingly good.”
Boeck added that he hoped to fully immerse the audience in something new, wrapped in something familiar with “Library Noir.”
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