Arts and Entertainment

‘Irma Vep’ spoofs Hollywood monster movies

Centerstage Theatre will open the 2007-2008 season with its first production of “The Mystery of Irma Vep” at 8 p.m. Sept. 28.

The play is a spoof of the Hollywood thrillers and monster movies of the 1930s and 1940s, and is described as a funny, silly and ridiculous ghost story about a husband and wife’s journey to find true love, said Centerstage Artistic Director Alan Bryce.

“It’s just like every other marriage in Federal Way,” he said.

The play is unique, Bryce said, in that it is performed by only two male actors who play several roles.

“It’s remarkable and famous for having one character leave one door and change into a woman with a complete costume change, and appear five seconds later coming in another door,” Bryce said.

The actors making these quick changes are Jon Lutyens and Brandon Simmons, who have been rehearsing the show for six weeks.

The play, written in 1984 by Charles Ludlam, won an Obie, a prestigious award for off-Broadway productions, for Play of the Year in 1984. Since then, the play has been performed regularly around the country.

“Charles Ludlam was a silly guy, but underlying it all was a profound thinker,” Bryce said. “You can see quotations from other movies, the ‘Mummy’s Curse’ and Hitchcock’s ‘Rebecca’ as well as dozens of other literary greats like Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. But you don’t have to understand those to enjoy it.”

Centerstage chose this production in an attempt to make sure every show is different from the last — and this one, Bryce said, is unlike anything done before.

“We really want audiences to walk out with a spring in their step and a smile on their face,” Bryce said.

The production starts Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 14 with showings at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays as well as matinee showings at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturday, Sept. 29, the theater company is offering a two-for-one special.

The play is presented at the Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road.

“The Mystery of Irma Vep” does contain werewolves and vampires. Due to the potential for nightmares, the show is recommended for children over age 13. Centerstage’s next production, “Cinderella,” is more child appropriate, Bryce said.

Contact Kyra Low: or (253) 925-5565.

Check it out

“The Mystery of Irma Vep” runs Sept. 28 through Oct. 14 at the Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road.

Showings are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Matinees are at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Prices for tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors and military members, and $8 for ages 18 and under.

Tickets: (253) 661-1444 or

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