The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the World
Written by Shaun Prendergast
Directed by Joshua Ellison
September-October 2013 at Berger Park Coach House
In life, Julia Pastrana was afflicted with hypertrichosis, a rare genetic condition that causes hair to grow over the entire body. She joined the ranks of her abusive husband’s freak show, becoming famous throughout the world as ‘The Ape Woman.’ In death, people realized she was so much more than that—a Mexican woman who spoke three languages; an exceptional dancer who yearned to be a mother. Shaun Prendergast’s Midwestern premiere explored both sides of her story in a surreal, fractured fashion similar to The Elephant Man. Performed in total darkness, The True History… challenged audiences to build their own perception of Julia Pastrana, and imagine the horror of her experience themselves.