Articles about The Mystery of Irma Vep


Happy New Year

Looking for some fun in the new year? Third Rail has exactly what you need!

First, we have hilarious entertainment for you, your family, and your friends with the wild quick-change romp:

The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam.

Critics at the Oregonian named it a “Best Bet” for the winter theatre season, and it’s been described as “…one of the best laugh-out-loud farces I’ve ever seen!” (Broadway World).

Running through January 10 at the Winningstad Theatre right in downtown Portland, this play is a sure-fire break from the usual holiday fare.

Tickets available HERE


And if you are looking for something a little more serious, we are thrilled to be presenting National Theatre Live’s screening of the hit Broadway production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd (Tony-nominated for his performance).

January 3rd and 4th at 2 PM and 7 PM.

Screenings at the World Trade Center Auditorium (121 SW Salmon St., Portland, OR)

Get tickets here!


Quick-Changes, Holidays, and the Best Pommes Frites in Town

‘Twas just before Christmas and throughout Third Rail Rep
Everyone was excited about Irma Vep
The place was abuzz like bees in a hive
Because of the plays with National Theater Live

With great plays and great gifts for the theatre lover
For the holidays Third Rail Rep’s got you covered

Tis the season, and Third Rail has everything you need to celebrate the holidays:

The Mystery of Irma Vep
A little holiday entertainment for you, your family, and your friends with some great Portland live theatre and the hilarious quick-change romp The Mystery of Irma Vep, December 5 – January 10.


Nel CentroExceptional food with a $10 discount at the fabulous Nel Centro restaurant (just short walk from the Winningstad Theatre), where you’ll find delicious starters and salads, homemade pastas, fantastic entrees and desserts, and the best French fries in the city. (Coupon provided by Third Rail with all Irma Vep ticket purchases.)


National Theater Live Punch CardThe perfect gift for everyone on your list: Tickets to Third Rail Main Stage Plays and National Theatre Live single-show tickets as well as 6-ticket punch cards (great for stocking stuffers).


24 Days of GivingAnd for your end-of-year giving, check out Third Rail’s 24 Days of Giving Campaign.


Understanding the Mystery of Irma Vep

by Director Philip Cuomo

Third Rail Core Company member Philip Cuomo gives us some insights into directing the very funny and challenging The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam. Be sure to bring the whole family to this hilarious, quick-change romp of a play, December 5, 2014 – January 10, 2015. 

Welcome to The Mystery of Irma Vep.  Playwright Charles Ludlam refers to his play as a Penny Dreadful, which (according to our crack dramaturgical team) is a 19th-century British publication that featured lurid serial stories, each part costing a penny—as opposed to Dickens’ work that cost a shilling. Charles (I feel like he wouldn’t mind me calling him by his first name) used a vast array of elements that would attract readers of Popular (with a capitol P) culture in the 19th century: monsters, mummies, vampires, werewolves, etc.  The play embraces the romantic, the gothic, the melodramatic and, most fully, the ridiculous. In fact, Charles named the theatre company that he founded and ran for 20 years The Ridiculous Theatre Company.  (For more insight into Charles and his company, check out the article on the next page.)

In Irma Vep, Charles writes one opulent detail on top of another all in service of celebrating the form of the Penny Dreadful; all to delight and entertain today’s audience.  His advice on how to do this?  “Take things very seriously, especially focusing on those things held in low esteem by society and revealing them, giving them new meaning, new worth…”

Wonderful!  To be given permission to take monsters, mummies, werewolves, and vampires so seriously and to revel in their magic. To work on moments requiring outlandish commitment, revealing how dangerous, scary, and dramatic living and loving truly are, and how we must pursue our need for love and so live boldly and shamelessly.  Amazing!

Producing Irma Vep is a magnificent opportunity for Third Rail to ply our craft to the fullest, to embrace high-wire derring-do, and stretch our imaginations in order to create Charles’ amazing, ridiculous world.  No matter how serious or ridiculous, Charles has written a sensational entertainment that we have the pleasure to share with you, sharing the same space and breathing the same air so that together we can manifest wonder and mystery. What a gift.