Articles about Karen Trumbo

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!

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!”

Middletown Vaults to the Top of Third Rail’s Ninth Season

Will Eno's "delicate, moving and wry" play begins on September 26 at the Winningstad

We kick off our ninth 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 Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Middletown is a quizzical fable about life in all its sweetness and pain, joy and wonder, beginnings and endings.

  • Middletown by Will Eno
  • Middletown by Will Eno

Featured will be company members Michael O’Connell, Maureen Porter, Damon Kupper, Karen Trumbo, and Bruce Burkhartsmeier, joined by guest artists Amy Newman, Darius Pierce, Diane Kondrat, and Ben Newman. Direction will be by Marcella Crowson.

Performances begin September 24 at the Winningstad Theatre.