A Lighter Shade of Noir by Patrick Derksen - Theatrefolk

A Lighter Shade of Noir

Recommended for High Schools and Middle Schools

A Lighter Shade of Noir

by Patrick Derksen

A fabulously funny and high styling take on film noir.

 About 75 minutes
Act 1: 35 minutes, Act 2: 25 minutes, Act 3: 15 minutes

Times given are approximate and do not include intermissions/scene changes/breaks

4 M | 5 W | 16 Any Gender

Simple set

 62 pages


Average Producer Rating:

Reviews from Past Producers

Trent Trowel is your typical gumshoe. Searching the mean streets for crimes to solve and dames to fall for. He joins some of the world’s most famous detectives at the International PD gala. There’s Shirley Holmes, Jean Louie Phillip Eustache… and Aunt Beatrice. But is this just an innocent gala? Will the world’s most dastardly villains foil them with a fiendish master plan? Will Aunt Beatrice ever get an English muffin? Everything is not what it seems.

A fabulously funny and high styling take on film noir - it’s a lighter shade of noir after all!

Click here to read production tips for this play.

25 Characters
4 M, 5 W, 16 Any Gender
TRENT TROWEL [M] 136 lines
A tough, but somewhat incompetent, hard-boiled P.I.
TRACY DYCK [W] 64 lines
A no-nonsense police detective who loathes private inspectors
A confident and intelligent British detective
A refined inspector from France
MS. BEATRICE [A] 61 lines
An elderly lady who knows it all
DR. WATSON [M] 55 lines
Holmes’ long-suffering assistant
Trowel’s long-suffering secretary
Eustache’s long-suffering butler
JANE [A] 34 lines
Ms. Beatrice’s long-suffering niece
Dyck’s long-suffering subordinate
BIG BILL [M] 12 lines
A shadowy crime boss
TONY [A] 7 lines
A tight lipped-henchman who gives away more than he thinks
VINNY [A] 7 lines
Big Bill’s henchmen
CANDY [A] 6 lines
A good-for-nothing floozy
MARIO [A] 7 lines
Another criminal thug
MAUREEN ARTEE [W] 18 lines
A cunning villain
An infamous cat burglar
ETHEL [A] 5 lines
Ms. Beatrice’s good-for-nothing neighbor
MR. SMITH [M] 38 lines
A hapless postman
A femme-fatale with mysterious motives
MAYOR DEFEHR [A] 48 lines
A boisterous and personable politician
MRS. BENEDICT [A] 30 lines
A wealthy socialite and hotel owner
A very famous singer
JANITOR 1 [A] 12 lines
A grumpy hotel-worker
JANITOR 2 [A] 12 lines
A jaded hotel-worker

Awards and Accolades

  • Millhopper Montessori School - Superior Award - Florida Junior Regional Festival

Customer Feedback

I greatly enjoyed directing 'A Lighter Shade of Noir' last year with my middle school theater students. It had everything I was looking for in a script for 6th, 7th and 8th graders: lots of parts for girls or parts that could be changed to female roles, action without lots of fighting, multiple character scenes that had things to do while other people were talking, a main story line but also sub-plots, links to school subjects (like literature and history), and most importantly - dialogue that I could stand listening to over and over in rehearsal that gave the students motivation to look deeper and deeper into their character development.

I hope you write more for theater, especially children's theater. We need more good writing for these young actors.

Sharon Boski

Sharon Boski, William J. Johnston Middle School

I sincerely enjoyed directing your creation. There were lots of wonderful characters and I had a great bunch of students with creative ideas. Many of the plays I read before I chose one have similar themes but yours piqued my interest in the first couple of pages.

Nancy Arndorfer, Merrill High School

Prop List

Gigantic feather, Egyptian mask, Painting of Beverly Stewart, Stuffed toy dog, Dog carrier (small), Pistol (toy), English muffins, Love Letter (Snookie Wookums) and envelope filled with rose petals, Several flower bouquets, Newspaper, Coffee cup, Mop and broom, Rotary phone, Two invitations to Gala, Fancy handkerchief, Maps, Palm-tree souvenir, Notepad and pencil

Production Photos


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Royalty fees apply to all performances whether or not admission is charged. Any performance in front of an audience (e.g. an invited dress rehearsal) is considered a performance for royalty purposes.

Exemption details for scenes and monologues for competition.

Related Titles

We accept orders worldwide using the following payment methods:
Purchase Orders accepted from US and Canadian Schools.
Info for your purchasing department.

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