At Lake City Playhouse in Coeur d’Alene, The Elephant Man opens tonight and runs Thurs-Sat at 7:30 pm and Sun at 2 pm. Top ticket price is $17. Call (208) 667-1323.
The Elephant Man of Victorian London was Joseph Merrick (though his caretaker, Dr. Treves, called him "John.") He suffered from a combination of neurofibromatosis and Proteus Syndrome, which caused bone deformities, an unusually large skull, and warty growths sporadically over the body.
The movie of 30 years ago tries to show you that, literally. During the play, you're left to imagine those deformities for yourself.
Merrick used to end his letters with a poem about how he wished he'd been better made, but that a man's mind and soul are better measures of his value than his physical appearance.
The play about him by Bernard Pomerance, which won the Tony for Best Play in 1979, opens at Lake City Playhouse tonight. (Pomerance, now 70, lives in New Mexico.)
Directed by Marina Kalani. Lake City artistic director George Green plays Dr. Frederick Treves, the Victorian-era London physician who examines and cares for Merrick (Christopher Lamb). Bill Caisely plays the head of the hospital, Sean Cahill plays the freak-show manager who exploits Merrick, and Anne Lillian Mitchell plays the famous actress who becomes Merrick's first female friend. Seven other actors complete the cast of 12.