There are places that really bring out the movie in you, and one is The Blue Heron, a tropical-style lounge on the top floor of the tallest building in a small mid-American city. It's the setting for La Vie Noir, the latest comedy by Jim Neu, in which a group of star-crossed strangers become trapped in a Noir world of lonely streetlights, smart talk, killer shadows and wet footsteps.
The comedy is rich in irony, deadpan humor and the elliptical, punchy dialogue that fans of Jim Neu have come to love. It also serves up another delightful gaggle of eccentric characters who, according to director Keith McDermott, "are all struggling in creative ways to cope with a dehumanizing, media-inspired culture - and nearly always succeed."
In the play, fantasy-friendly culture confronts reality. The question is, which is which? With a storm building outside, an unusual group of customers gathers at the Blue Heron Lounge. They include two people in witness protection, a woman recently found not guilty of shooting her husband on purpose, a budding self-help guru, a burnt-out movie history teacher, and a mysterious figure claiming to be an agent of the Department of the Interior. As the customers share glimpses of their inner lives with each other, some sense that the evening is evolving more like a movie. When the singer performs a song about one of the customers, their suspicions grow. The plot becomes life-threatening when a lightning strike traps them 40 floors up and a tornado is heading their way. The characters' survival may depend on the answer to the question, "Are we in it or at it?"