The 32-year old native Azerbaijan playwright Ilya Sapiroe has a wicked sense of humor. For his first production in New York he has put together a plot that interweaves The Diary of Anne Frank with Dr. Frankenstein, and tosses in a sexy female Hollywood film star and Adolph Hitler to boot. Starring as the hermaphroditic Anne in this silly and smart mash up is Mimi Imfirst (three-time Glam and HX Drag Queen of the year nominee) and the legendary Lavinia Co-Op, who plays Anne’s diary; yes, she plays a book. Elizabeth Ekins, who must have a pretty good sense of humor herself, directs. I spoke with the likable playwright.
Hi Ilya. I started laughing when I read the title; how did you come up with that?
I’ve always enjoyed juxtaposing things, and changing around words and concepts; and when I came up with the name, I wondered what would be the play that would go along with that title.
So how would you describe it?
It’s an absurdist fairly tale; it’s also an epic, but not in length. It’s an ensemble piece, with a lot of stories that intertwine with a bigger story.
OK, tell me...
It’s the story of a naïve, young Franken-girl –-
Hold it, what’s a “Franken-girl”?
A Franken-girl is the result of a Nazi scientific experiment gown awry. She was meant to be the perfect Aryan female, but something goes horribly wrong, and she ends up being a hermaphrodite, with a couple other personal issues. She resides in the secret attic of the compound where she was created. And it’s also the tale of Dr. Gustav Frankenstein, her wicked creator. He returns to the compound, after six years of being away, post World War II. He returns to the scene of his greatest failure to attempt his most twisted experiment: the resurrection of Adolph Hitler, whose head he has salvaged. He’s trying to find the perfect body for his bodiless head.
So this is the set-up?
Yes, that is all revealed pretty early.
I love former Blue Lips actor Lavinia Co-Op’s work. I hear she plays Anne’s diary. How did you come up with that?
I always wanted to have a talking book. Originally it was going to be a puppet, but when Lavinia came into the show, with her wonderful hands and face movements, it evolved into a bigger volume. She plays a sociopathic talking diary brought to life, and Anne’s only companion.
How many are in the cast, and what are some of the other characters?
There are seven total, and most of the cast plays more than one character. There’s an American movie star and her beefy, young trophy husband who accidentally stumble into the compound when she is shooting a movie nearby. And Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant is a drug-addled man-monkey.
Are there songs?
Yes, it’s not a musical, but there are four songs, like “The Wurst is Yet to Come” and “The Blitzkreig of Fate."
One or two acts?
It’s a two-act play without intermission; about 90-95 minutes.
13th Street Repertory, 50 W. 13th St., (212) 352-3101. Previews Oct. 1, opens Oct. 4– Nov. 8. Thurs.–Sat., 9 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. $22.50.