“The Ape Woman” cometh back to Martha’s Vineyard

Adam Petkus, May V. Oskan, and Justin Taylor performing Ms. Oskan's rock opera "The Ape Woman" this past August. — File photo by Adrianne Ryan

After a one-night performance in Cambridge at Club Passim on December 7, “The Ape Woman” returns to the Vineyard for two shows, December 8 and 9, at The Pit Stop in Oak Bluffs.

The ape woman, Julia Pastrana, was an indigenous person from Mexico who lived from 1834 to 1860. She had a very rare condition now known as congenital terminal hypertrichosis. She had long dark hair growing over her whole body. She also had a condition called gingival hyperplasia, which caused her gums to grow over her teeth, adding to the appearance of someone who was more like an ape than a human.

While studying circus crafts at the San Francisco school the Circus Center, multi-talented Vineyard native May V. Oskan read a story about circus sideshows. The story contained the tale of a woman who was called “The Ape Woman.” It was a story she couldn’t forget, resulting in the rock opera.

Despite some rather grim subject matter, Ms. Oskan says “The Ape Woman” is appropriate for all ages. The featured musicians are Nina Violet, Adam Lipsky, Michele Jones, Rob Myers, Marciana Jones, Jerome Badot, and herself. The featured actors are Christopher Kann, Christopher Roberts, Justin Taylor, and Adam Petkus.

“The Ape Woman,” Dec. 7 at 8 pm at Club Passim in Cambridge. $15. Dec. 8 and 9 at 8 pm at The Pit Stop in Oak Bluffs. $15; $10 for members. For more information, visit theapewoman.com.