Cortland Repertory Theatre serves up big laughs in the final show of their 41st annual summer season with the hysterical comedy/farce/thriller "The Mystery of Irma Vep", by master comedy writer, Charles Ludlam. BroadwayWorld has a sneak peek at the production below.
A satire of several film genres – from silent movies to Alfred Hitchcock, from melodrama to black-and-white horror classics - "Irma Vep" features a two-man cast playing multiple characters with 35 costume quick-changes throughout the course of the evening. The play was first produced in Greenwich Village in 1984 by the Ridiculous Theatre Company which Ludlam founded. It won a special Drama Desk Award and an Obie Award for Best Ensemble Performance. In 1991, it held the record for being the most produced play in the United States. It was revived Off-Broadway in 1998, where it won the Lucille Lortell Award for Outstanding Revival.
Performances of "The Mystery of Irma Vep" will run from August 29 – September 8 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on August 31, September 2 and 5 at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-427-6160 or in person at the CRT Box Office at 24 Port Watson Street in Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org. The show is suitable for younger teens and up.
The play begins at Mandacrest Estate, the home of world-explorer Lord Edgar Hillcrest and his new wife Lady Enid. Though recently married to Enid, Edgar is finding it hard to let go of the ties to his first wife, Lady Irma. The servants, snippy house maid Jane Twisden and peg-legged groundskeeper Nicodemus Underwood have formed their own unfavorable opinions of the new Lady of the House. As night nears and candles flicker, creepy things begin to happen in and around the mansion. Lady Enid learns more about the mysterious family history, which only adds to her growing fear when she hears a wolf howling in the moors. After a quick jaunt to Egypt to investigate an unexplored tomb, Edgar returns home with a mummy in a sarcophagus to decorate the living room. As the melodrama grows - and the costume changes get quicker – the laughs build to a hysterical and fascinating conclusion as the mystery of Lady Irma Vep (and the interesting spelling of her name) is revealed!
Leading the hilarity is long-time CRT director Bert Bernardi, fresh from directing "Grease" earlier this summer. Other previous CRT credits for Bernardi include last year's record breaker "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as well as "Forever Plaid", "The Great American Trailer Park Musical", "Johnny Guitar" and "Over the River and Through the Woods" to name a few. Stage Manager Laura Krouch heads up the design team of Jason Bolen (Scenic Designer), Jimmy Johnansmeyer (Costumes), Eric Behnke (Lighting), Sam Sheehan (Props) and Seth Asa Sengel (Sound) who also doubles as Assistant Stage Manager. Nicholas Schwartz serves as Technical Director.
Both actors in the cast are making their CRT debuts. Playing Lord Edgar and Jane Twisden is John DeSilvestri, who holds a BA in Drama from the University of Hartford, an MBA from Fordham University and is an alumnus of the O'Neil National Theatre Institute. Playing Lady Enid, Nicodemus Underwood and Alcazar, the Egyptian guide is Christopher Scheer, who holds a BA in Theatre from Muhlenberg College and also completed a year-long prestigious acting apprenticeship at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Who exactly is Irma Vep will be revealed during the show!
CRT will continue "Friday Night Talk Backs" thru the end of the summer, at which a Q & A session with the actors, designers and crew take place after every Friday evening performance. Also, "Early Bird" prices for subscriptions and flex-passes are now available for the summer of 2013. Please note that these discounted rates will only available until October 1. See more details at www.cortlandrep.org or call 800-427-61610.
John DeSilvestri and Christopher Scheer
John DeSilvestri and Christopher Scheer