On Wednesday, August 29 and Thursday, August 30, the folks at the Pit Stop in Oak Bluffs are hosting The Ape Woman Rock Opera. For those not up on their 19th century oddities, the Ape Woman was Julia Pastrana, an indigenous Mexican woman born in 1834, who suffered from hypertrichosis terminalis; her face and body were covered with black hair. Her ears and nose and teeth were also quite large. Charles Darwin described her in this way: “Julia Pastrana, a Spanish dancer, was a remarkably fine woman, but she had a thick masculine beard and a hairy forehead.”
A man by the name of Theodore Lent purchased her from a woman who might have been her mother; the details are sketchy. Mr. Lent taught Julia to dance, play music, read, write and speak three languages. He also took her on a worldwide tour with the name Bearded and Hairy Lady. Eventually, Theodore and Julia married and she became pregnant, but died soon after childbirth.
Enter May V. Oskin, a present-day Vineyard writer who has turned this tragic story into a rock opera. The show begins at 8 p.m. each night and features numerous Vineyarders in the cast.
Tickets are $10 or $5 for Pit Stop members.