DOUBLE INDEMNITY Concludes ACT Theatre's Season

ACT Theatre concludes its 2011 Season with the noir thriller, Double Indemnity, by James M. Cain and adapted for the stage in this world premiere by Seattle favorites, David Pichette and R. Hamilton Wright. Double Indemnity is directed by Artistic Director Kurt Beattie, and features an ensemble of 5 actors. Performances begin Friday, October 21 and continue through Sunday, November 20. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at www.acttheatre.org or 206.292.7676.

Lust, intrigue, and cliffhanging twists amp up this popular crime drama, which Billy Wilder also adapted for his classic noir film. In the dusty, amoral Los Angeles of the 1930s, discontented insurance agent Walter Huff encounters temptations too great to resist and embarks on a dark journey to escape his life. Double Indemnity is a suspenseful and profound consideration of the materialistic and sexual cravings of Depression-era America, rendered in a fresh, electrifying rendering by David Pichette and R. Hamilton Wright.

"Cain documents the fear and terror at the heart of modern life in his own odd way, and it's why his work has hung around...they're compelling not just because they're good entertainments but because they are actually saying something about what it is to live in the modern world" said Director Kurt Beattie on the subject of why the adaptation was necessary in these modern times. Writer David Pichette adds, "we are in fact facing a national crisis where again, we've watched malfeasance on a level that had been unthinkable. You start getting into a Huff-like mentality where you think, if those are the new rules, why shouldn't I take advantage in a similar fashion?"

Inspired by the notorious murder trial of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray in 1927 (dubbed ‘New York's Crime of the Century'), Double Indemnity was first published as an eight-part serial in Liberty Magazine in 1936, at the heart of the Great Depression, before becoming one of the most famed crime novels in American fiction. The film adaptation, directed by Billy Wilder from a screenplay by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, premiered in 1944. The film was an enormous success, garnering seven Academy Award nominations and winning the National Film Registry award presented by the National Film Preservation Board. It is widely acknowledged that Double Indemnity catalyzed the emergence of film noir into an explosive movement in the American film industry.
"The film is a great film, and they did really remarkable things with Cain's book to turn it into a great movie," said Director Kurt Beattie. "But there is in fact a reason for doing a stage adaptation of the book. And the book creates opportunities for a new experience in the theater that will be very different and I think very surprising to people who know the film...It's a very interesting opportunity aesthetically."

Double Indemnity is a co-production between ACT - A Contemporary Theatre and San Jose Repertory Theatre (Richard Lombardo, Artistic Director; Nick Nichols, Managing Director) and features a combined cast of actors from both the Puget Sound and the Bay Area, led by Seattle's John Bogar as Walter Huff (The Threepenny Opera, Seattle Shakespeare Company; 42nd Street, Village Theatre) and San Francisco's Carrie Paff as Phyllis Nirlinger (After the War, A.C.T . San Francisco; A Streetcar Named Desire, Arizona Theatre Company). Additional casting includes Jessica Martin, Mark Anderson Phillips and Richard Ziman.

 

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