2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation
Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, 8426 Gateway Blvd. August 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 24
More information: www.dirkdarrow.com or www.facebook.com/DetectiveDarrow
An interview with Tim Motley
Describe your show in five words.
Comedy magic mentalist noir detective.
Okay, now that we’re interested… what’s the longer description?
This show and it’s predecessor are, to my knowledge, the world’s only comedy magic noir shows. They are also, to my knowledge, the only shows in existence which incorporate magic into a full length story that’s about something, anything other than being a magician. My original goal was to see if it was possible to incorporate magic into a stage show the way cgi and special effects are used to support a plot in movies, as I had never seen it done. The answer seems to be yes.
2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick is a prequel to your previous show Dick Darrow: NCSSI. What inspired you to do a prequel to your previous show?
When researching all things noir for the last show, which was originally designed to support a single trick (the final trick of Dirk Darrow: NCSSI), I came upon the writings of Mr. Dashiell Hammett. Hammett is the grand-daddy of all noir, who’s prime as a writer was 90 years ago. I discovered in my research that many noir fans either fell into the Raymond Chandler camp, which is more mainstream, or the Dashiell Hammett camp, which is more gritty and realistic. (Much like physical comedy fans are split between Chaplin and Keaton.) Many of Hammett’s works, such as The Maltese Falcon, became films, but I came across an obscure short story that I fell in love with, and that had never been adapted to any other media. I knew immediately that I wanted to tell that story some day. Hence, “The Big Knockover” became 2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick.
As for a prequel instead of a sequel, the action and scope of this story is much bigger, so I figured knowing that Dirk Darrow would eventually wind up falling to the squalor and meanness of the first show would be a more tragic backdrop for both shows. Also, it means that patrons who have never seen me before know that they can walk into the story with no previous knowledge, as a prequel can stand on it’s own.
You describe your show as a “film noir comedy magical mind reading murder mystery” – which of those is the favourite part of this show for you – the comedy? The magic? The mind reading? The murder? And how do you tie all of these aspects together?
Actually my favorite thing about this show is that it IS a weird mutant hybrid cross-genre of a show. That what makes it unique. However, if I had to pick one, I would say the comedy. I get a real kick when I’m writing and I come up with a line that seems just perfect.
Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
This show takes a lot of chances. The tricks are much riskier than in the first show, much more difficult to pull off. The story is more complex. I even sing a song. I was worried that it wouldn’t work as a show, but so far, in it’s fourth festival in, it seems to be going even better than the first Dirk Darrow. I’ve won 3 prizes out of 4 festivals (2 “Best of Fest”’s and 1 “Best Comedy”), every single review (out of 15) has been positive, and I’ve sold out every single seat of the run in Winnipeg and Adelaide Fringe Festivals. And absolutely no prior knowledge of the previous Dirk Darrow show is necessary to enjoy this one.
Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (local Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?
I’d like to give a credit to Martin Dockery for most constructive feedback. He saw an pilot version of the show last year, and gave me a really good suggestion to simplify my then top-heavy plot. The show is now 50% different than it was under that one-off temporary title, and has been much better received. I’d also like to credit Travis Bernhardt for staying up till 3am several nights last year bouncing ideas about the magic of this show and other shows off of one another. That guy’s got a good head on his shoulders.
The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. I’ll be previewing shows up until the Fringe starts. Want your show to appear on After the House Lights? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.