Sam Marlowe, the hard-drinking lead character in Catchy Name’s noir theatre piece, has been sighted at the Uptown on 17th Street and at the Casanova on Valencia near 16th.
It’s unusual for a character to step off the stage and take up a real existence in City bars where you can talk to him about his gritty honesty, his austerity, his 38 snub, his favorite bourbon, the blatant dishonesty of his colleagues, and most of all the cool babes that hit on him wherever he goes.
Jason Wheat plays Sam Marlowe on and off stage, pitted against his dangerous ex-wife Beverly (played by Cassandra Clark), his surreptitious business partner Miles Sawyer (played by Joe Madero), SFPD Detective William Jones (played comically by Glen Caspillo), the upper-class Jimmy Fredericks (played by Brian O’Connor) and the sultry French chanteuse Edna Mersey (played alluringly by Valérie Fortin).
The play is written by yours truly, Jim Strope, and so you don’t have to believe me when I say it’s terrific but the play has 1947 noir written all over it, spiced with some post-war French existentialism.
Edward Nattenberg directs the fine cast, the lighting, the setting and even the writing sometimes.
Before Sam Marlowe got real legs, he was an amalgam of Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe, private dicks played by Bogie in his noir prime. I asked the Hammett estate for permission to use the names Sam Spade and Miles Archer but they refused and hence Sam Marlowe walked on stage.
You can see Sam Marlowe and the Mean Streets of San Francisco Thursday through Saturday until April 7th 2012 at the Stagewerx Theatre, 446 Valencia.