Shows featuring Don Crossley's work

A Lesson From Aloes

A psychological mystery of survival and politics, this award-winning play is considered by many to be Fugard’s masterpiece.

Set in apartheid-era South Africa, Aloes shows how a nation’s ideology creates an atmosphere that is either nurturing or poisonous. At what point does personal survival outweigh social justice? What happens to a friendship undermined by fear and paranoia? What can be done when mere existence is considered an act of treason?

The Aliens

In April, Third Rail returns to the CoHo Theatre, the site of our very first production, for Annie Baker’s Obie-winning play, THE ALIENS. KJ and Jasper hold court on the back patio of the local coffee shop, trying out a new song. Enter Evan Shelmerdine, the nervous new barista, tasked with getting rid of them. Will he succeed or unwittingly become KJ and Jasper’s newest project? THE ALIENS is a surprising, charming, and gentle meditation on friendship, loss, and a generation of young Americans trying to find their place in the world.

A Noble Failure


In this call-to-arms, Mach shares an eye-opening look at the current state of America’s public education system. Navigating a minefield of competition, quotas, retention, privatization, class size, corporate welfare, and litigation is tricky on the best of days, but what does any of it have to do with teaching Johnny to read? Told with empathy and humor, and featuring a rich cast of characters, A NOBLE FAILURE is startling in its immediacy and passionate in its plea to ‘Save Our Schools’.

A Noble Failure will be presented as a part of Fertile Ground 2013, Portland’s festival of new and developing works. A limited number of seats will be available for purchase each night using a Fertile Ground festival pass.

That Hopey Changey Thing

It’s Election Day, 2010 and what begins as a simple visit by the Apple siblings to their uncle transforms into an examination of 21st Century American politics. Chekhovian in spirit, HOPEY CHANGEY is the first play in a planned four-play cycle that annually reunites the Apple Family during events of national importance. In an exciting and ambitious project, Third Rail is delighted to be the only company in the country (besides the Public Theatre in New York) to present a new play in this series every year for the next four seasons, each featuring the same cast of Third Rail actors!


Abby and Zack are newlyweds subletting an apartment in the Belleville area of Paris. She’s a yoga instructor and he’s a physician with Doctor Without Borders. Their life is idyllic, if not especially noteworthy. That is until Abby walks in on Zack with his pants literally around his ankles.

As she starts pulling at little threads having to do with how Zack spends his day, BELLEVILLE builds toward a climax that asks if we can ever truly know another person. This sexy, funny, scary, and tense pseudo-thriller from one of America’s hottest new playwrights will unnerve as quickly as it entertains.

OPB’s State of Wonder

Pair your experience at Belleville with a meal at The Bent Brick

Ticket holders to Belleville will receive a special offer at the fantastic restaurant, The Bent Brick (NW 16th and Marshall). Let your server know you are going to see or have seen Belleville at Third Rail and receive a 10% discount on your meal!

The Bent Brick hours:
Tuesday-Sunday 5-9pm
Happy Hour:
Tuesday- Saturday 5-6 pm
Sunday 5-9pm
The Bent Brick

The Night Alive

Tommy crashes in a room in his uncle’s house, does odd-jobs here and there, tries get-rich-quick schemes with his buddy, Doc, and keeps his ex-wife and kids at arm’s length. Then one night, he defends a young woman from a violent act, a choice which fills both their lives with unexpected consequences. Mystery lies around every corner and they soon find out the past won’t let go so easily. This play is a joyous, frightening, funny, and ultimately gorgeous meditation on the possibility of redemption. An amazing new work by one of the great writers and poets of the theatre.

The Mystery of Irma Vep

Last year Third Rail made a splash at the holidays with our record-setting production of NOISES OFF, which many consider the funniest play written in the past 25 years. This year we’re at it again with perhaps the funniest American play of the past 25 years: Charles Ludlam’s quick change romp, THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP.

Two actors play all the roles in this hilarious send up of Victorian melodrama, farce, 50’s horror movies, Wuthering Heights, and Hitchcock’s Rebecca. With elaborate quick changes performed in mere seconds, wildly absurd characters, and an absolute distaste for anything serious, IRMA VEP should be the perfect gut-busting escape from all that holiday noise!


Ticket holders to Irma Vep will receive a special coupon to the fabulous restaurant nel centro (located just a quick walk from the Winningstad). You’ll receive $10 off when you order two or more entrees in the main dining room the night of the performance. (Your coupon will come with your ticket order.) Thanks nel centro!

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We open our season with a play Third Rail has been dying to produce since it was the hit of Portland Center Stage’s 2009 JAW Festival, MIDDLETOWN by Will Eno. The residents of Middletown lead lives that are probably not too different from ours. They wake up, go to work, say hello to their neighbors, fix the plumbing, seek advice on parenting, and try to live lives that are as rewarding as possible. It’s all fairly ordinary. And yet…ordinary doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of this quirky, word-frenzied, refraction of OUR TOWN. MIDDLETOWN is a quizzical fable about life in all its sweetness and pain, joy and wonder, beginnings and endings.