Articles about Or

See Or, Before It’s Gone!

There is only one more weekend to see Or,! Yes, just one. You do not want to be among the people who miss the show the Portland Monthly called “a witty, bawdy, frothy Restoration-era spy thriller in the vein of Tom Stoppard”. The reviews for this show have been stellar, though personally you had us at “bawdy, spy thriller.” Get your tickets before this one is gone!

And it’s never too late to become a Member, which would get you access to closing weekend of Or, opening weekend of The Realistic Joneses, NT Live’s Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch, PETE’s All Well, and a Bloody Sunday reading. That’s over $130 worth of programming for only $29.33…and that is just October!

So…what are you still doing reading this blog? Get to clicking!

October 5 – October 11, 2015

This is a week of change at Third Rail as we move from one play to another! This weekend is your last chance to see Or, – the story of Aphra Behn that covers “the thoughtful and the madcap, the silly and sublime, the sociologically resonant and the fancifully theatrical” (Oregon Artswatch).

Or, is a spirited romp that also has a lot to say about the complexity of sex, gender, and being one of the first woman writers ever. Portland Mercury

The show has been winning over audiences for weeks, but you have just a few chances left to see what all the raves have been about!

Then, on Sunday, after the final performance of Or, we will transform the theatre once again into the set and setting for our next show, The Realistic Joneses. Much more information about this production will hit this space in the coming weeks. For now, know that we are thrilled to bring you a show about which the New York Times said, “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.”

But you better get your tickets to see Or, before it closes. Because THAT beautiful set is coming down Sunday! So what are you waiting for? Get clicking!

October 2015

October is shaping up to be an exciting month at Third Rail. Honestly, all of the months are exciting here but we really do believe October is going to be particularly special (and you can tell July we said that!). Why will October be so notable?


Closes October 10

So, we start the month with the last two weekends of this wonderful production. If you have not yet seen it, you are missing a truly excellent play about one of the first female playwrights, written by one of the great modern female playwrights, and starring two of Portland’s greatest female actors. It’s not too late to start your Third Rail October with us by seeing Or,!

The Realistic Joneses

Opens October 23

Not two weeks later, we open our next show, The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno – who wrote last year’s hit, Middletown. Directed by Company Member Rebecca Lingafelter and starring Company Members Michael O’Connell, Kerry Ryan, and Darius Pierce, along with guest artist Dana Green, who you may remember from her Drammy-nominated work in Gidion’s Knot. This is an hilarious and deeply human play that will gracefully and humorously grab the baton from Or,.

PETE: All Well

October 27 – November 1

Following the success of The Bylines: Meant to Be, October also bring us our second Wild Card! PETE: All Well looks to be a unique immersive experience: a sound-installation which will envelop audiences in the pitch black world of an icebound ship. Featuring a soundscape by PETE’s resident sound designer and Third Rail Company Member Mark Valadez, each performance will be limited to 25 audience members who will experience the piece from the comfort of their own hammock. With only 25 hammocks available each show, you’ll want to make sure you reserve your tickets as soon as possible.


October 18th

October also sees the beginning of perhaps our most anticipated NT Live screening ever – Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Our Hamlet engagement began with four scheduled screenings which sold out so quickly that we have already added four additional showings. Get tickets while you can, they certainly won’t be around much longer.

Bloody Sunday Reading (MEMBER ONLY EVENT)

October 25

As is true every month, we’ll also have a Bloody Sunday reading of a show we are considering for future production. Bloody Sunday readings are Members Only events and a unique way to peek inside the Third Rail process. In fact, October is going to be one of the best possible months to become a member – for under $30, you would have unlimited access to two Main Stage productions, a Wild Card production, and NT Live’s Hamlet – over $130 in programming! So the only question left is…

What are you waiting for?!?

September 28 – October 4, 2015

Let’s see what’s happening this week in the land of Third Rail – a land, incidentally, to which you are always invited.

We are headed into our third week of Or, performances! If you have not yet seen the show, this is the weekend to do it. We close next week, so you have to see it this week in order to have time to recommend it to people after falling in love with it!

This is also an interesting week in The Realistic Joneses processWe have a production meeting, which is where the director, all of the designers, and the production manager come together to continue the discussion about the design of the show. Generally, at this point, the discussion is largely about how to finish implementing the designs and adjustments based on what has been learned in rehearsals. Then, at the end of the week, we have our first stumble through of the show. A terrifying and exciting moment for the actors, this will be the first time that we run the show on its feet from beginning to end.

It is lovely having two shows at these different phases working under the same roof! Hopefully, we’ll see you under that same roof soon, too!

Or, Dramaturgy

Here at Third Rail we’ve enjoyed the services of two magnificent dramaturgs, Brian Myers and Ellen Walkley, for several years. They’ve been with us since 2011 when they took over managing our NT Live program, and took over dramaturgical duties from Larkin Sackett (who ran off to a little school called Columbia University to pursue her MFA) during Sweet and Sad. They both hold PhDs from UC Berkeley, and we are blessed to have their incredible brains in the rehearsal room. Brian and Ellen tend to tag-team our seasons, each taking the lead on alternating shows, so we asked Ellen to write up a bit of information about our upcoming show Or, by Liz Duffy Adams:

 looks ripe for the easiest of a dramaturg’s job—researching historical references—but it is less immediately yielding to the more difficult task of finding the heart of the script. Charles II was indeed fond of exclaiming “Odd’s fish,” for example, but his visit to Aphra in debtor’s prison is pure fiction. Aphra spied, London burned, the plague raged, Charles returned and theaters reopened, but this play is not dependent on a precise chronology.
Adams directs us in many ways to the play’s essence. In her stage directions, she states that the play is set during the Restoration “but plays off the echoes between the late 1660s, the late 1960s and the present.” These echoes are evident in the diction, which is often anachronistic; “kinky,” “It girl,” “quickie,” and “nostalgia queen” are not words likely heard in Charles’ court. Echoes between the 1660s and 1960s are also found in the background of the play, unfolding as it does in the midst of an unpopular war and the loosening of sexual morés. The pastoral lyricism of Aphra’s speech about Arcadia and Nell’s restatement of that speech in contemporary terms matches the joys of Arcadia with the expectations of the Age of Aquarius.

But Adams suggests that this combination of destruction and hope can be found in any age. Her primary interest is in a “subculture that can look incredibly naïve, but is exactly what gives us hope.” The advice that Nell gives Aphra could work as well in the present as it does in the 1660s:

Nell: We are lucking to be alive right now. This is our utopia, and it’s never going to end.
Aphra: How lovely it would be to believe that.
Nell: O, just choose to believe it, that’s what I do.

September 21 – September 27, 2015

We’re in the last full week of September (already!?!) and there are still two ways to join us at the theatre before we turn the page into October.

First – Or, is in full swing and audiences are having a fantastic 90 minutes! There’s poetry, espionage, laughter, sexy times, and cross-dressing (in both directions…)! The Oregonian says:

[Maureen] Porter, with lovers literally tugging at her sleeves to hit the sheets, gracefully centers the sexual shenanigans… [Amy] Newman and Damon Kupper, playing multiple parts, make impressive character transformations… You just wish plays had a replay button…

We hope you’ll join us for the “shenanigans” and if you’re a Member, you can hit a “replay button” by seeing the show for free as often as you’d like!

Second – On Sunday, we are offering another Bloody Sunday play reading. Join us for a reading of a play that is under consideration for production… and tuck into some nibbles and morning-appropriate cocktails. This is a Members only event. If you want to attend, and get unlimited access to any Third Rail event, you can become a Member at any time!

We’re also in the midst of rehearsals and production meetings for The Realistic Joneses, which opens in just about a month. Whew! Here at Third Rail World Headquarters, we’re keeping the good times rollin’!

Or, Opens Tonight!

Join us on tonight, September 18, for the Opening Night of Or, by Liz Duffy Adams and help us kick off our Main Stage productions for the year.

A dazzling, word-fueled, seductive romp Or, ricochets across the stage with playful, sexy wit. Set over the course of one night in the life of playwright Aphra Behn against a background of a long drawn-out war and a counter-culture of free love, the 1660s look remarkably recognizable in this neo-Restoration comedy.

The show opens today and runs through October 10. See you soon!

September 14 – September 20, 2015

The season is in full swing! And if there is one season that really knows how to swing, it’s Fall. We have two productions in rehearsal, so the building is overflowing with Third Rail theatre.

On Monday, we have first read for The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno. This is always an exciting evening. We get our first look at design ideas for the show and our first listen of the play read by the full cast. If you attended the first read of Or, then you know how great an opportunity this is to begin your relationship with the show and to meet other Members and Company Members. First reads are Members’ only events!

Then, of course, we have Or,! This week, Or, will be in previews. Previews are an invaluable step in preparing a show. After the weeks of rehearsals, this is our chance to add the final, vital element of any live performance – the audience! A play in front of an audience is a different creature than a play in the rehearsal room. In previews, we have a chance to experience, experiment, and expurgate as we move towards opening the show.

Which is exactly what is happening this week! September 18th is opening night of Or,! There’s no need to tell you why you should join us for opening night, but we will because that’s what we do here in “This Week at Third Rail”. You can be among the very first people to see this hilarious and thought-provoking show! Starring Company Members Maureen Porter and Damon Kupper, and Third Rail favorite Amy Newman, Or, is sure to tickle your funny and thoughtful bones. See it with the unique energy of opening night and then celebrate with us afterward!

With our increase in programming, they’re all big weeks around here. But this one is a particular joy. In one week, Members can see the beginning of our process for The Realistic Joneses and the beginning of our run of Or,. So…we’ll definitely see you at the theatre!

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.


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!