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Monster Headaches

Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker took their supernatural characters seriously, but in more modern history these once scary legends have lent themselves to absurdity (just look at Twilight’s sparkling vamps if you have any doubt).

One of the most satirical looks at gothic horror is late playwright Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep, a gender-bending comedy that casts two actors in a total of eight roles -- resulting in a series of quick offstage costume changes to rival a Lady Gaga concert.

“I think we could sell even more tickets backstage,” quips David Ira Goldstein, who directs Arizona Theatre Company’s local remount. The production is Goldstein’s fourth run of Irma Vep, so he’s no stranger to the problems that come with having two actors onstage and seven wardrobe assistants waiting in the wings. “We’ve had a few foibles so far, where someone walks in with the wrong wig or costume,” he admits. Luckily, wardrobe malfunctions are easy to ignore when the lead actor shows up in a Victorian bustle gown, waving a fan to hide his five o’clock shadow.

Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: May 5. Continues through May 29, 2011


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