THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP
by Charles Ludlam
Thursday, February 13, 2020
“Ludlam’s is a dazzling and significant body of work, and it should be accorded a place of greatest regard and honor in the American dramatic literary canon. The plays are funny, erudite, poetic, transgressive, erotic, moving, and so theatrical they seem the Platonic ideal of everything we mean when we use that word. The plays are the sublime expressions of what Ludlam insisted was not an aesthetic, but a moral vision: anti-Puritan, unsentimentally utopian, sexually destabilizing—a transporting, a transcendence by means of deflation, a joyous and subversive, even dangerous revelry leading to revelation, a wise and ecstatic celebration of the world.” –Tony Kushner (from his Preface)
Produced by the Ridiculous Theatrical Company in 1984, Charles Ludlam's most famous play is a hilarious send up of Victorian melodrama, the penny dreadful, gothic British novels and Alfred Hitchcock. One of the most produced plays in the United States, The Mystery of Irma Vep is “the most perfect expression of Ludlam’s approach to theatre: a play that simultaneously provokes terror, laughter and a grotesque mockery of all gender, literary and special boundaries” (Village Voice).
This play should read at about 2 hours with two intermissions. Conversation facilitated by Katie Palmer.
Upcoming Cold Readings
Learn more about Cold Readings here.