Season 10

September 7 – September 13 2015

Up this week is set, lights, and sound load-in for Or, in preparation for tech this coming weekend. Our designers and production team members are working round-the-clock to get the production performance-ready. And, seriously, wait until you see the design on this one. You’ll be amazed at the transformation made in the Imago space.

This coming weekend is also the Viewpoints Intensive for the members of our Mentorship Program. As you may know, Mentees receive professional training and form their own company-within-a-company at Third Rail. For this weekend’s intensive training workshop, Mentees will explore Viewpoints, a performance language that articulates specific elements of time and space, and emboldens practitioners to generate strong theatrical work spontaneously and intuitively. This training will promote collaboration for the Mentees, as well as a sense of ensemble, both fundamental values to the Third Rail mission. Instructor and Core Company Member Rebecca Lingafelter brings her chops to this workshop, drawing on her own training with two Viewpoints visionaries, Anne Bogart and Mary Overlie.

It’ll be a busy week here at Third Rail. We can’t wait to show you the fruits of our labor.

September 2015

As you know, every week, Third Rail sends out detailed information about what exciting events and projects we have for the coming week. But! Every four (or so) weeks, we get to give you an overview of a whole month! This is an enticing way to see what you have to look forward to over the next few weeks and it is a good quick-glance at just how much is happening with Third Rail and how many different ways we all have to interact with each other, especially if you are a Member! So. Here is September!

Mentee Intensive Presentation (MEMBER ONLY EVENT)

September 6

We cannot wait for our new class of Mentees to get started! This is a dynamic and diverse group of actors, directors, and designers who have traveled from all over to work and train with us for a year. You may have met a few of our Mentees at the first read of Or,. Labor Day weekend, they begin their year with an intense three days of collaborative art making. Please join us as they present their work – and themselves – to the community! Expect surprises and high voltage energy from this talented group of theatre makers.

Or,

Opens September 18

Then! We present our fall show, Or,! With echoes of Restoration comedy, quick-change farce, a dash or two of Tom Stoppard, and the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, Or, is a little valentine to love in the theatreThird Rail Company Members are all over this show with director Philip Cuomo, actors Maureen Porter and Damon Kupper, and designers Kristeen Willis CrosserMark Valadez, and Drew Dannhorn. Joining them are Third Rail favorites Amy Newman, Jessica Bobillot, and Owen Walz.

The Realistic Joneses – First Read and Design Presentation (MEMBER ONLY EVENT)

September 14

Even before we have opened Or,, we will have the first read for our next show, Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses! We are thrilled to be presenting another show by the brilliant Will Eno (Middletown) – the first show of his to have had a Broadway run. Be among the first people in Portland to hear this beautiful, hilarious text out loud.

Bloody Sunday Reading (MEMBER ONLY EVENT)

September 27

Finally, we have another Bloody Sunday play reading. Join us for a reading of a play that is under consideration by the company along with nibbles and morning appropriate cocktails. Who needs brunch when you have good theatre and Bloody Marys?

That is September in a nutshell! Keep an eye out for more details and more Third Rail goings on throughout the month. And we’ll see you around the theater!

Or, A Little Valentine to Love in the Theatre

Our next production is Or, by the extraordinary, contemporary American playwright Liz Duffy Adams. We have long been a fan of Adams’s work and are thrilled to be sharing it with you! Or, premiered in 2009 at the Women’s Project Theater in New York.

Set over the course of a single evening, Aphra Behn – poet, actress, spy, and one of the first professional female playwrights of the Restoration – has the opportunity to land her first commission for a professional company if she can deliver her play by dawn. Complicating this task are an array of lovers and rivals, from a rogue-spy to a blossoming ingénue to the king himself, vying for her time and affection. With echoes of Restoration comedy, quick-change farce, a dash or two of Tom Stoppard, and the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, Or, is a little valentine to love in the theatre.

Our production is being helmed by director Philip Cuomo with Maureen Porter playing the poet/actress/spy/playwright Aphra Behn. It also stars Damon Kupper and Amy Newman playing six roles between them! Cuomo, Porter, and Kupper are long-time Third Rail Company Members and Newman has been a favorite on our stage in Noises OffMiddletown, and her Drammy-winning performance in Gidion’s Knot.

Our design team includes Company Member Kristeen Willis Crosser (Set), Company Member Mark Valadez (Sound), Company Member Drew Dannhorn (Props), Jessica Bobillot (Costumes), and Owen Walz (Lighting). It is a brilliant team creating a world straddling the 1660’s and the 1960’s. It is going to be a treat to see how they transform the space at Imago!

“[Adam’s] language has a natural period flavor and a formidable wit; her characters possess the spark of fully animated spirits; and she weaves into her story both biographical detail and cultural context with grace. More remarkably, the play succeeds on its own terms as a potted pastiche of Restoration comedy as well as a lively showcase for the actors.” The New York Times

September 18, 2015 – October 10, 2015
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 2:00pm
17 SE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Tickets are available now! (Though, you can attend the show as much as you like by becoming a Member!)

Or, First Read

Scott Yarbrough

A great group of Third Rail Members joined the cast, designers, and production team at the first-read for Or, on Monday night. Historically, our first-reads have only been open to Third Rail Core Company and members of the board, but with our new Membership model, we’re cultivating a deeper relationship with our patrons by including Members in the process of page-to-stage… and we’re so frickin’ excited!

We all gathered to hear our director (Core Company Member Philip Cuomo) speak about his vision for the show, and to listen (and watch) design presentations by an impressive design team. After snacks and beers, we regrouped to hear the actors read the play, together, for the very first time.

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Or, is set in the 1660s (or is it the 1960s?), and is based on an imagined meeting between the (very real) Aphra Behn, England’s first professional playwright, the (also very real) Nell Gwyn, a famous Restoration actress, the (real) William Scot, an English spy in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, and the (yes, THE) Charles II, King of England. It’s funny, beautiful and it bends sexuality and gender and time with bawdy glee. We couldn’t be more excited to be opening our season with this show.

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Want a run-down of the team? Check out our post on the cast and creative team. Would you like to attend one of our production’s first-reads? We would love for you to join us! Read this to learn more about becoming a Member of Third Rail.

Brian Myers

August 3 – August 9 2015

Hello everyone!

Another week, another full slate at Third Rail, another new episode of “Chopped”, and another blog post keeping you updated and informed!

First, we continue to sell memberships and increase the number of people who can say “I am a Third Rail member!”

Then, after a few giant weeks for us, we have a rare moment when we can catch half a breath. But only half. This week, we have the first design meeting for our October/November show, which will follow Or,. We are excited and eager to share with you The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno. You may remember Eno’s brilliant writing from Middletown this past Fall. Eno has been an Oppenheimer Award winner, a Drama Desk Award winner, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He was quite open and communicative and present with Third Rail during the Middletown process, so are particularly delighted to be tackling another fantastic play of his.

The Realistic Joneses is Eno’s first Broadway play. It had a successful ran in 2014 starring Michael C.Hall, Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei and Tracy Letts (so just imagine how extraordinary this will be when some talented actors get their hands on it!). It is an unconventional, unexpected, original and outrageous look at the people who live next door, the truths we think we know, and the secrets we never imagined we all might share. Here are three quotes about Eno’s script that we hope will begin to get you looking forward to this show as much as we are.

Plays as funny and moving, as wonderful and weird as ‘The Realistic Joneses,’ by Will Eno, do not appear often on Broadway. Or ever, really.The New York Times

For all the sadness woven into its fabric, ‘The Realistic Joneses’ brought me a pleasurable rush virtually unmatched by anything I’ve seen this season. The New York Times

Eno’s dialogue is a marvel… there’s much to savor… Life in Enoland isn’t what you’d call realistic – it’s more real than that. Time Out New York

But! First, we have the hilarious and beautiful and liberating Or,! This week will be the final Set and Costume Design meeting before first read! First read will happen next week and there is nothing more invigorating than diving into a new show… but that is out of my prevue. Next week!

– Darius Pierce, Third Rail Company Member

Or, Cast and Creative Team

So, you’re excited about our fall production of Or, by Liz Duffy Adams. But, we hear you ask, who will be acting in the show? And who – who?!? – will complete our creative team? Well…why didn’t you say so?

Playing Aphra Behn, the poet, actress, spy, and one of the first professional female playwrights of the Restoration will be Maureen Porter! This past year alone, Maureen graced our stages in Static and Middletown. Complicating Aphra’s (Maureen’s) night will be an array of lovers and rivals vying for her time and affections including Nell, a blossoming ingénue, and King Charles himself. Nell will be played by Amy Newman! Amy is a resident artist at Artists Repertory Theatre and has previously joined Third Rail for Middletown, Noises Off, and her Drammy award-winning performance in Gidion’s Knot. The king himself will be Third Rail company member Damon Kupper! Damon was most recently on stage with us in The Night Alive (Drammy nomination for Best Actor) and Middletown.

Or, has an exceptional design team, as well. Our Set Designer and Production Manager is the extraordinary Kristeen Willis Crosser – company member, multiple Drammy award winner, and recent birthday celebrator! Costume Design is by Jessica Bobillot, who has done wonderful work all over town, including Profile, Artists Rep, Shaking the Tree,and Portland Actors Conservatory (where she is a Resident Designer). Our Lighting Designer is Owen Walz, a multi-talented artist who works not only in lighting, but scenic design, web design, graphics, illustrations, and more; and Sound Design is by our very own sound guru Mark Valadez, who was heard this past season as the designer for The Mystery of Irma Vep and Belleville.

And finally, this whole team will be led into glorious battle by director Philip Cuomo! For years, Philip has been an invaluable Third Rail company member as actor, administrator and director. Last season, he helmed The Mystery of Irma Vep and Belleville and next spring he will be directing The New Electric Ballroom. Philip will be aided by Assistant Directors Brian Guerrero and company member Karen Trumbo!

We can’t wait to see what this incredible team creates!

Third Rail Moves to Imago Theatre

As some of you know, Third Rail is moving to Imago, and let me just say: I am PREPARED. Must be something in the water: in the last month, I’ve moved myself into a new apartment, I helped my best friend up move to Seattle, and, former mentee and fellow company member Kaye Blankenship is moving out to New York City. Kaye will be driving herself, her dog, and all her worldly treasures due east at the exact time that we will be packing up our office. Needless to say, we’ve got plenty of boxes, and my biceps are growing at an alarming rate.

In the past three years our office and rehearsal space has been in one location, we’ve performed at the Winningstad and at CoHo, and we’ve presented National Theatre Live at the World Trade Center. All of these places have served us well in different ways – our office space was expansive, the Winnie allowed us to do bigger productions than ever before (did you see Noises Off??), the CoHo provided a venue in which to get intimate, and the WTC has been a venue, right in the heart of Portland, where we all can gather to watch world-class theatre together.

Unfortunately, that sprawl has its downsides, too. For a small, artist-driven organization such as ourselves, these multiple venues with disparate systems for rental agreements, financial reconciliations, and logistics, spread our resources thin. We are so thrilled to be moving all our operations to one location – Imago Theater. It’s almost hard to conceive of how nice it will be to rehearse in the same building that we perform in!

Within the next three years, our goal is to have a home of our very own. When we as a company talk about what it would mean to own our own space, the room fills up with possibilities – Isaac wants to have a little oaky gastropub as part of our building, we’ve talked about having the ability to host other companies – we want to create not just a theatre, but a cultural epicenter, a dynamic artistic home. Good venues are scarce in this city, currently, and it would be a dream come true to build a new one, and create a home not just for ourselves but for other artists who inspire us. What if we were home to a dance company? What if we had an art gallery?

In the meantime, the folks at Imago have generously offered Third Rail an interim residency that allows us to pull all our operations under one roof, leaving time to plan wisely for the future. I’m so excited about what will come out of the collaboration between these two longstanding organizations working in partnership.

So this week, I’m rolling my sleeves up. I’m getting ready to sweat. I’m preparing to sip a mojito while watching Scott Yarbrough build some walls. Third Rail isn’t just a company that puts on plays– we’re a group of individuals who can make anything happen when we put our minds to it. We’re all in, and we’re all hands on deck.

– Jory Bowers, Third Rail Company Member