Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review - The cast of “B.I. Confidential” read through lines during a recent rehearsal. The noir-style play, written by Scott Breitbarth, incorporates many trending topics from the Bainbridge Islanders Facebook group’s page.

Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review - The cast of “B.I. Confidential” read through lines during a recent rehearsal. The noir-style play, written by Scott Breitbarth, incorporates many trending topics from the Bainbridge Islanders Facebook group’s page.

Stolen signs, poor parking, deception and intrigue: Fact-based Bainbridge-set noir on stage in Theatre School’s Fall Play Fest

Somebody is stealing the signs.

No, that’s not a true crime headline ripped from the pages of the Review, and nor is it the latest #crisis inspiring online outrage and pearl-clutching amidst the members of the Bainbridge Islanders Facebook group (though it has been both of those things of late). It’s what has actually happened to the Bainbridge Performing Arts Theatre School.

According to Pete Benson, BPA’s Director of Education, about 20 posters advertising the group’s upcoming film noir-style Fall Play Fest were recently put up around town — and nearly all of them quickly vanished.

“It’s really funny,” Benson said, taking it all in stride. “I’m hoping it’s because people think it’s hilarious and they want a copy.”

But of course, like any good dogged gumshoe, he hasn’t ruled out darker intent either.

“There’s a band of eco-warrior sign-stealers on this island that go out and try and beautify Bainbridge by stealing all the signs constantly.”

It’s the kind of suburban skullduggery so hopelessly associated with Bainbridge Island as to be borderline cliche — and, ironically enough, exactly the type of behavior that inspired the two original offerings of this year’s aforementioned festival: “Milk Money,” directed by Benson, and “B.I. Confidential,” directed by Havilah Criss; both written by Scott Breitbarth.

The tropes and characteristics of noir are universal by now — hapless heroes, femme fatales, cruel fates, convoluted story lines, flashbacks and voiceovers and dastardly deeds aplenty — but this time the trappings of the genre are getting the true locals-only treatment.

Poor parking and petty disputes, bad doggies, worse owners, stolen sandwich boards and more outrage than you can shake an artisan fair-trade vegan scone at — look to the stage, Bainbridge, and see yourself.

Because your kids do.

“They’ll call out like, ‘My mom does that!’” Criss laughed. “For the middle-schoolers to be able to have an outlet where they can make fun of their culture here, they’re really taking to it.”

The plot of “B.I. Confidential” is truly Chandler-esque in its complexity (involving aliens and authoritarianism, stolen signs and puppy poop bags) and yet somehow simultaneously simple enough that even a child can understand it.

“The main idea is that people are parking outside of the lines, and a lot of the scenes happen in a police station and so they’re kind of mimicking the law enforcement being strict,” Criss said. “People have to focus on the minor things here because there really isn’t a lot of crime here — and they know that.”

As for the younger thespian’s production, “Milk Money” manages to retain many of the charms of noir while keeping things on the lighter side, sort of.

“There’s a kid who is suffering on the street as you get there at the beginning of the play, and two of the more kinder kids try and help her out because she doesn’t have any coat and it’s raining and she doesn’t have any lunch,” Benson explained. “They go out of their way to try and borrow some money from people and they’re not very successful, but then one of them decides to rob from the rich and steals from the snotty rich kid, steals out of her locker.”

A classic noir setup if ever there was one: good intentions leading to bad deeds and, of course, consequences.

“No matter how good you try and be something bad is going to happen to you,” Benson laughed. “It’s all very fatalist and horrible, but we’re trying to do it a jovial sort of way. It’s kind of like this whole Bainbridge Islanders page; it’s still funny. We’re poking fun at all the silly [stuff] that goes on on this island. And I hope people take it that way, as a kind of out-of-the-mouths-of-babes thing.

“I hope we get noticed on the Facebook page and I hope they don’t troll us.”

It was reportedly this year’s particularly contentious election season and some truly bizarre crime stories that served as the initial inspiration to again seek a subject close to home.

“I’m hoping we can lighten the mood a little bit,” Benson said.

“Last year we did a play which was our [version of] ‘War of the Worlds’ based on Bainbridge Island,” he explained. “But this year … I thought film noir might be good. Then the whole idea of Bainbridge Islanders [Facebook page] came to me and Scott Breitbarth as we were just sitting around trying to figure out what to do with film noir, and we were both like, ‘Wait a minute, we can totally base it on all the complaints on Bainbridge Islanders!’ Because it’s so full of material to pull from.

“We just kept tapping into the Bainbridge Islanders page regularly to try and come up with new material.”

Performances of “Milk Money” and “B.I. Confidential” are 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 and Friday, Nov. 15 at BPA.

Tickets, $10 per person, or $5 for seniors, youth, students, teachers and military vets, are on sale now via www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org.

More in Life

Dixie Armfield’s ‘Frilly Lace’ fused glass vase creation. Courtesy Photos
Winter Studio Tour on BI this weekend

The free 38th annual Winter Studio Tour on Bainbridge Island takes place… Continue reading

Jared Hernandez of Seattle and Shannon Dowling of Bainbridge Island are stars in the movie. Courtesy Photo
Local holiday Rom-Com at Lynwood Theatre

A new Pacific Northwest holiday movie, “A Match Made at Christmas,” will… Continue reading

The library is a favorite spot for students. Courtesy Photos
BI school wins award for learning environment design

Blakely Elementary School was honored with the Association for Learning Environments 2021… Continue reading

Ted Hoppin
Artists’ creativity pours out at BI winery

The Bainbridge Island Wednesday Watercolor group has created a unique art exhibit… Continue reading

Denise Stoughton
FURniture, FURnishings and ReFURbishing

Designing for our canine, feline companions

Denise Stoughton has found treasures dumpster diving. Denise Stoughton and Sarah D. King Courtesy Photos
BI online sites remind me of dumpster-diving days

No one is above dumpster diving. I recall an elegant upper east… Continue reading

Manor House is the site of the upcoming concert series. Courtesy Photos
Concert series coming to Manor House

Pleasant Beach Village will present the first in a series of concerts… Continue reading

To celebrate Indigenous People’s Day Oct. 11, Celeste Loneia, a Suquamish artist and master weaver, teaches students at Island School about the uses of cedar and the role people play in protecting natural resources. She also made fry bread. First-graders read a story about salmon and other students shared information they learned about things like snowshoes and also played music by Suquamish artist Calina Lawrence. Courtesy Photo
Indigenous People’s Day

To celebrate Indigenous People’s Day Oct. 11, Celeste Loneia, a Suquamish artist… Continue reading

As always, Homecoming at Bainbridge High School was filled with its normal pomp and circumstance. At left, a large student section turned out for the game against Bremerton. At right, cheerleaders wave their pompoms and BHS Spartan gridders take the field. While the start of the game was filled with positive emotions, it wasn’t that way at the end of the contest as the home team was blanked by visiting Bremerton. Nancy Treder Courtesy Photos
Homecoming a downer

As always, Homecoming at Bainbridge High School was filled with its normal… Continue reading

Pumpkins on display at Safeway. Steve Powell/Bainbridge Island Review photos
Search for the Great Pumpkin

Lots of great pumpkins can be found at grocery stores on Bainbridge… Continue reading