The Elephant Man | Theater Wit | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 6 2011
Price: $18-$25
Bernard Pomerance seems destined to be remembered for a single play, but it's a damn good one. His based-on-fact look at grossly deformed John (actually Joseph) Merrick--who rose from freak to celebrity in Victorian London--receives a spare, elegant, emotionally vibrant production from Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. June Eubanks's staging illuminates the tension between exploitation and fame by suggesting that Merrick was perpetually trapped in someone else's play (he was a cash cow for both a sideshow and the London Hospital, where he spent his last years). Mike Tepeli taps into Merrick's anguish, resentments, and passions while nailing the physical contortions of the role; Cameron Feagin adds wry wit and compassion as Mrs. Kendall, the actress who befriended Merrick. --Kerry Reid



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