The Mystery of Irma Vep

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The Mystery of Irma Vep is a play in three acts by Charles Ludlam (1943-1987).

The original text

The play is written for two actors who, between them, play eight characters of both sexes. It is a satire of several theatrical, literary and film genres, including Victorian melodrama, farce, the penny dreadful, Wuthering Heights and the Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca (1940)[1]. The title is an anagram for the word "vampire" and is taken from the name of a character in the silent film serial Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade, 1915)[2]

First produced by Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company, opening off-off-Broadway in New York City's Greenwich Village in September 1984 and closing in April 1986.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1993: Presented by NAPAC Drama directed by Greg King starring David Dennis in 1993. The production won the Durban Theatre Awards award for Best Production in 1994.

2000: Directed by Alan Swerdlow at the Rex Garner Theatre starring Malcolm Terrey. Set by Denis Hutchinson.

2007 Produced by KickstArt productions.

2010: Produced by KickstArt productions starring Steven Stead in multiple roles.


The Star 16 August 2000.

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