The Mystery of Irma Vep (October 2007)

“Top Geniuses!!” –audience member addressing the Trova sisters at the bar after the show.


We needed to do a show and we needed to do one fast; if all of our hard work to start over as a company was going to work, we needed to refill the coffers.  Lex suggested remounting Irma Vep with her and her sister in the two roles.  We still had most of the set downstairs, it was a funny Halloween themed play, it would be easy to get up and running quickly and it had some name recognition.

Irma Vep usually stars two men.  We had two women on stage, three women back stage and a woman in the director’s seat.  It is a quick change show where a lot of the fun is seeing an actor walk off stage as one character and walking back on stage as someone entirley different  literally seconds later.  Sometimes the results are a little wonky…lexs-wig

But it adds to the fun.

The show was our first big step in company building.  The set was harder to put together than originally anticipated; consequently there were a lot of late nights at the theatre painting and sewing.  The crew had to be at all the rehearsals.  A couple people of including myself — who had initially felt a little outside the inner workings at the stage — found a welcoming environment and a completely non-hierarchical production.  There were bloopers to keep us going through the exhaustion (with that many wigs and a werewolf costume, how can there not be bloopers?)

One of the most interesting parts of the show was the set change between Egypt and the mansion, which happens before an audience.  There was some set ingenuity (namely hinged, panted panels with Egypt scenes).  More than that, however, the director wanted to make the set change interesting, so she put the crew in masks, put on a song and made it into a creepy dance.

“Why do we always have to pretend the set isn’t being changed?  It’s ridiculous” quoth she.

Some of the Redroom began here–bringing elements of  other disciplines into a show and saying “we just can’t hide this, so we’re going to have to put it out in the open, but we have to make it entertaining…”

edgar-and-nicoLex wants to make Irma Vep a tradition. It’s a fun show and everyone has a grand ol’ time.  There’s a big trunk in the basement full of werewolves, mummies, fake legs, cleavers, wigs, paintings that can bleed, and much more  just waiting for the next time through.

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