El Misterio de Irma Vap
Nov. 8-10, 8:00 p.m.
Adams Pool Theater
Directed by Miriam E. Psychas ’13 Produced by Yucheng Pan ’15
The production of a Spanish translation of Charles Ludlam’s play “The Mystery of Irma Vep”—rendered as “El Misterio de Irma Vap” in Spanish—is all vampires, ghosts and mummies. This show—produced by TEATRO!, a Harvard student group dedicated to bringing Spanish language theater productions to a wider audience—is a satire of moments that are commonly considered frightening: what has been designed to scare is transformed into a source of humor. And like most TEATRO! productions, “Irma Vap” will be entirely in Spanish.
“Irma Vap” seeks to be an immersive experience that includes more than just the the Spanish language. During the performance, the production makes use of aspects of Hispanic/Latino culture—such as a character playing a popular Brazilian song on the xylophone—all of which are aimed at creating a specific Latin American atmosphere for the show.
Although “El Misterio de Irma Vap” includes many characters in the script, this production only has two actors—Enzo V. Toral ’14 and Joao A. Vogel ’16. “I am so impressed by [the actors]. There are so many lines, so their total and utter concentration is crucial. They really never get a break,” says director Miriam E. Psychas ’13.
Sometimes the costume changes are even part of the play itself, as the actors are constantly switching roles.
This creative challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that both cast members have to play male and female characters. The cast sees this as a novel way of paying homage to Ludlam’s underrated importance in theater history. “Charles Lutman was one of the first playwrights to feature cross dressing on Broadway,” says Toral. “He was himself gay, and all his shows included cross dressing, but this was by far the most popular show.” The Spanish, the small cast, and the cross dressing all contribute to this unique production.