The Elephant Man at Indianapolis Civic Theatre, Oct. 30-Nov. 15 

Indianapolis Civic Theatre at Marian University

Directed by Robert J. Sorbera

A stunning performance by Chris Goldfarb as John Merrick underscores the strength of this timeless story. The supporting cast equally engrosses us in the basic themes whirling around the mainstay of affording dignity to each of us, no matter the conditions of our physical appearance or mental capacities. Set in London, 1884-1890, we immediately confront conflicting agendas inherent within public policy, social justice, entertainment, science and religion. A freak show, a medical school lecture, a humanitarian effort, converge around John Merrick, born with deformities that both repel and intrigue. As the play evolves, we witness how and why Merrick affects people. We come away digesting how his brief life sojourn in The London Hospital impacts us today. Bernard Pomerance's script deftly shows humor with the pathos of the situation in which Merrick finds "a home" and "rules" that eventually are in conflict. The stage setting, lighting, music, costumes, hair and make-up design work seamlessly with the cast who, in rapid succession, play multiple roles with such delicacy it seems there are indeed two dozen actors, not merely nine. Credit also dialect coach Robert Hay-Smith for assuring British accents are understood and John Merrick's altered speech is comprehensible. Oct 30-Nov. 15. 317-923-4597;

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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