Articles about Isaac Lamb



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




Putting Our Heads Together at Third Rail

by Karen Trumbo

Karen Trumbo joins Third Rail Repertory Theatre this season as a core company member. She first worked at Third Rail in last season’s production of Noises Off as Dotty/Mrs. Crachet, and appeared in this season’s production of Middletown.

We had been rehearsing Noises Off for a few weeks and were blessed with the ability to be working on the actual set that had been built in the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s warehouse (later to be moved to the Winningstad). Our rehearsals always started with a warm-up, which for this show was essential to keep us from freezing in the unheated warehouse in the middle of November. Isaac Lamb was in charge of the warm-up on this particular evening, and he chose an exercise called “Predator/Prey.”

The idea behind the game was that Isaac as the “Predator” picked three spots in this large space that included the huge set and lots of places to hide. The “Prey” (which included about 8-9 of us) were to touch each of these three spots in an allotted time of anywhere from 3-10 seconds, before returning to the Predator. The Prey could hide at the end of each countdown to save themselves and then begin to run for their next spot once a new countdown was begun; or until another Prey had successfully touched all three spots, made their way back to the Predator, and touched the Predator’s outstretched hand before the end of the countdown in which case that Prey would win the game. We were allowed to pick any strategy or path we each desired, but if you were seen by the Predator at the end of any countdown you were out.
Everyone was beyond committed to winning the game—quite the competitive group.

On the third or fourth round of this game, I had a laid out my path in my mind, and had a strategy for getting to each spot and back—knowing right where I would hide along the way. I made it to the first and second spot with ease, successfully hiding before the end of each countdown. When the third countdown started, I was running for my final spot at full speed and just as I reached the spot I met, also coming at full speed, Maureen Porter. We collided with full force…..her teeth and mouth with my big forehead.
With not a moment left before the end of the countdown we both dropped to the floor to hide, whispering urgently to each other, “Are you OK?” We each nodded in assent, and then a split second later when the next countdown began again we both jumped up and ran to go for the win. (I can’t remember for sure, but I think she beat me!)

Moments later we were laughing and sharing our “head-on” collision story. Maureen had a big fat bleeding lip and I had a large, swelling bump on my forehead. And I thought, “Ahhh… a comrade! Yep, this is my kind of people!”


The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam

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!

Staring Isaac Lamb and Leif Norby.