Trouble Is My Business

Trouble Is My Business

Adapted by James Glossman from short stories by Raymond Chandler

Directed by James Glossman

Originally produced at Portland Stage, Portland/ME .

January 24, 2012 through February 19, 2012

About the Premiere Production:
The 1940s atmosphere and trademark narrative style of Los Angeles’s most famous private detective, Philip Marlowe, come to life in two stories of elaborate crimes gone wrong. In Red Wind, Marlowe becomes witness to a murder when a man is shot at the bar he’s drinking in. Later that night, Marlowe runs into the woman the dead man was looking for, who claims she was being blackmailed after the murdered man stole a pearl necklace given to her by her lover. Marlowe agrees to help her, but soon suspects that the pearls – and the story – may not be genuine. In Trouble Is My Business, Marlowe is hired to break up an affair between the son of the wealthy magnate and an ambitious redhead named Harriet Huntress. Though the client thinks Harriet is involved with a gangster to whom his son owes gambling debts, Marlowe soon uncovers a string of murders that point more towards Bel Air than the criminal underworld. From seedy side streets to elegant Hollywood mansions, Marlowe must stay focused on solving both cases through run-ins with sinister thugs, high rollers, crooked cops, and femme-fatales in a highly theatrical jazz-age thriller.

Artistic Statement: Trouble Is My Business is an adaptation of two short stories by Raymond Chandler, “Red Wind” and “Trouble is My Business”, both revolving around a central private eye character, Marlowe. Chandler’s work has rarely been adapted for the stage. The main vehicle of translation through the decades has been the movies, and in that form, Chandler's language, narrative structure and voice rarely survive.

When James Glossman first contacted me about his adaptation of Trouble Is My Business for the stage, I was dubious. Not having read Chandler in years, I instinctively felt his work was heavy handed and ideally suited to the movies. But on reading Jim’s draft adaptation and subsequently returning to Chandler’s work itself, I recognized how far from the truth that idea was. Jim had managed to use Chandler’s language, his turn of phrase and rhythms to give us a powerful sense of time, character and place. The adaptation was fun; it felt quintessentially Chandler, quintessentially American. I could immediately envision actors filling the text and creating the world with minimal sets and props, allowing the language, itself, to fly.

-Anita Stewart, Executive & Artistic Director

Grant Statement: 
It is important for my community to have the opportunity to be a part of bringing new work to life—it makes them aware of the creative process and connects them directly to the theater. My audience is proud of this involvement. Support from the Edgerton New American Plays Fund makes it possible for theaters such as my own to contemplate producing new work by providing additional rehearsal time so necessary for new productions. In Maine, it is difficult to find the resources necessary to give new projects the rehearsal time they require to launch successfully. Support from the Edgerton Foundation helps us to be involved in the process of creating something new, unique and individual that will live for years to come.

It is especially inspiring that the Edgerton supports additional rehearsal time in theaters all around our country. New play development should infuse the heart and soul of theaters in a variety of communities instead of being relegated to large cities or giant festivals. Audiences everywhere need to be invited to participate in the scary, messy, exhilarating process of bringing a new work to life, and writers deserve the opportunity to see the impact of their work on a community. Trouble Is My Business will be an opportunity for people in Maine to take part in the creation of a new work. As an artistic director, it is wonderful to get to be in a position of supporting writers during an extremely formative time. I look forward to working with Jim on Trouble Is My Business at Portland Stage.

-Anita Stewart, Executive & Artistic Director

Director: James Glossman

Set Design: Anita Stewart

Lighting Design: Bryon Wilson

Sound Design: Jeff Knapp

Costume Design: Bettina Bierly

Projection: Jeff Knapp, Poster Illustration: Doug Smith



Review: Crime, wit, whiskey brew some 'Trouble'

The Portland Press Herald

January 28, 2012