“Elephant Man” opens Feb. 21

The Cornell College Theatre Department’s production of “The Elephant Man” runs Feb. 21, 22, 28, and March 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.

Cornell College's production of "The Elephant Man" opens Feb. 21. Photo by Hailey Severance.
Cornell College’s production of “The Elephant Man” opens Feb. 21. Photo by Hailey Severance.

“The Elephant Man” by Bernard Pomerance, which won the 1979 Tony Award for Best Play, is directed by Cornell College professor Jim VanValen.

Audiences are invited to return or remain in the theatre for a Talk-Back with the cast and crew immediately following the production on Friday, Feb. 28.

The play is based on the life of Joseph Merrick, a victim of rare skin and bone diseases who is a star carnival attraction in traveling side shows in the Victorian era. The play explores the relationship between Merrick and Frederick Treves, the celebrated young physician at London’s Whitechapel hospital who takes him under his care. Merrick is introduced to London’s high society and slowly evolves from an object of pity to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy only to be denied his ultimate dream; to become a fully expressed and complete human being.

The play offers an examination of the line between charity and exploitation, the complex relationship between science and humanity and the innate human need for acceptance. Through image, dance, beautiful costumes designed by Jenny Nutting-Kelchen, lighting design by guest artist Dave Upton and scenic design by guest artist Paul Sannerud, this production reveals the emotional, spiritual and physical world of Merrick’s Victorian England.

The play is performed by an ensemble cast of Cornell College students that includes Luke Brooks, Daniel Dempsey, Nick Barnes, M.C. Cole, Tucker Lewis, Millicent Marter, Haley Severance, Alex Casillas, and Lydia Meece.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors, non-Cornell students, and youth. Those with a Cornell College ID are admitted without charge. Tickets can be purchased at the box office by calling in advance at (319) 895-4293, sending an e-mail to boxoffice@cornellcollege.edu or purchased at the door. This production is intended for mature audiences.