Jan 212019
 

THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP

by Charles Ludlam

Directed by Andrew McMillan

On the moors of Mandacrest manor, something is amiss. Lord Edgar Hillcrest, a leading Egyptologist has taken a new wife, Lady Enid, an actress who is having a perfectly horrid time adjusting to life as the leading lady of the manor.  The portrait of Lord Edgar’s previous wife, Irma Vep, is watching her every move, as is the randy one-legged pig farmer, Nicodemus and the no-nonsense maid, Jane, who remains devoted to the memory of her former mistress.  Meanwhile, a wolf that haunts the heath is causing mayhem for everyone and the mysterious death of Lord Edgar’s son, provokes an expedition to the pyramids of Egypt in an attempt by Lord Edgar to finally solve The Mystery of Irma Vep.  (The Mystery of Irma Vep has the distinction of being Charles Ludlum’s most performed play across the world, delightfully mixing references from a range of sources such as Ibsen, Victorian melodrama, the films of Hitchcock and other 1930s/1940s B-grade monster movies).

Production Season:  Friday 21st June to Saturday 6th July 2019.  13 performances including 3 matinees.

Audition Dates:

Saturday 16th March at 1.30 pm and Monday 18th March at 7.30pm

Call-backs, if required, will be held either Sunday 24th March from 10.15 am or Monday 25th March (evening) TBC.

Audition Venue: Malvern Theatre, 29 Burke Road, East Malvern

 

Character summary:  2 Men (30s–50s) transforming into multiple male/female roles.  Period: 1890s.

Actor 1:

  • Nicodemus Underwood; a swineherd/groundskeeper; limps due to his wooden leg, possibly a cockney dialect, a bit mad and crude, keen on Jane.
  • Lady Enid Hillcrest; a former stage actress, seemingly witless, enjoys being ‘a lady’ – elegant and demure, posing and strutting around her new stage Mandacrest manor, devoted to Lord Edgar but uneasy with her new position, likable.
  • Alcazar; an Egyptian guide.
  • Pev Amri; a hyper-sexed exhibitionist Egyptian princess/mummy.

Actor 2:

  • Lord Edgar Hillcrest; intense, dashing, very moody, loves to hunt (Laurance Olivier persona).
  • Jane Twisden; Lord Edgar’s sinister housekeeper of 18 years, still living in the past due to her fierce devotion/obsession with Lady Irma Vep (Hitchcock’s Mrs Danvers persona).
  • An intruder/a supernatural creature.

Skills/qualities: playful and versatile, excellent with voices/dialects – able to alter voice, gait and facial expressions to suit each character, excellent comic timing, able to balance the switches between being camp and ridiculous one moment to serious the next, able to ground characters in realism when required.  As the play in performance has about 35 quick costume changes (including wigs), actors need to be physically fit.

All auditions are by appointment only.  Auditions will be in pairs or small groups with some improvisation and readings from the script.  Learning a monologue is not required.

Please review the season dates on the company website and check your availability prior to requesting an audition.  A provisional rehearsal schedule is available on request prior to the audition.  You must be available for rehearsals, technical rehearsals the week prior to opening and the season.

For all enquiries including a provisional production calendar, please email Andrew at MalvernVep@optusnet.com.au

About the director:

Andrew has a worked with a range of professional and amateur companies as a director, set designer and stage manager.  Directing credits include: Bloody Murder, Act a Lady (La Mama 2013), Camberwell House, Losing Your Marbles (Arts Centre Melbourne), The Gun in History, Summer of the 17th Doll, Away, Flame, Now Becoming Then, Sure Thing, Popscars, It’s My Party and Measure for Measure.  As Assistant Director: The Frail Man (Playbox Theatre Company) and Three Days of Rain (Melbourne Theatre Company).  Andrew is a graduate of the VCA School of Drama (Directing).