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  The Elephant Man at Theater Wit

The Elephant Man

Theater Wit
1229 W Belmont Ave Chicago

In Victorian London, Dr. Frederick Treves discovers the misshapen, stunted John Merrick in a freak show and rescues him in order to study his peculiar deformity. But Merrick turns out to be unusually bright and articulate, and soon becomes the toast of high society. His new popularity, however, only increases his frustration and isolation created by his deformed exterior. Has he simply traded one freak show for another? BoHo brings this thrillingly intimate story to life with a boldly physical staging that highlights the layers of self, intentional and not, that separate us all from each other.

Presented by BoHo Theatre

Thru - Feb 6, 2011

Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:00pm

Price: $18-$25

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-975-8150

  The Elephant Man Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...As directed by June Eubanks, this 95-minute BoHo production has a number of strong performances and solid scenes, but it never finds a cohesive pace or dynamic, and Pomerance’s vivid writing sometimes gets garbled."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...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."
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Kerry Reid

Centerstage - Recommended

"...Steve O’Connell plays Dr. Treves with a straight-laced demeanor that belies his humanity, and the inner conflict between science and theology. Mike Tepeli’s John Merrick is an innocent, awestruck man-child, contorting his body to approximate his character’s deformities. Cameron Feagin hits all the right notes both as Nurse Sandwich, repulsed by the sight of her patient, and Mrs. Kendall, the worldly actress who bares both her emotions and her body for Merrick. If this production ever achieves the energy of which it’s capable, BoHo (in its new, larger space) will have a terrific show."

Colin Douglas

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Tepeli mercifully provides his character with gnarly truths both physical and emotional. O’Connell, as his conflicted physician and caretaker, and Feagin, as an actress who’s hired to befriend Merrick but becomes genuinely fond of him, provide worthy backup. Eubanks’s staging is otherwise simply adequate, and sometimes obtuse; the conceit of live Foley sound effects, relied upon heavily in early scenes, soon falls away and becomes more distracting than enhancing on its occasional return."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...We are enticed and engrossed with Merrick’s plight and we cheer for him to live life to the fullest. The tragedy is that Merrick only lived for four years with Treves as he died at age 27 in 1890.  BoHo Theatre’s production is a moving look at tolerance and what it is to be human. The 95 minute one act tells a compelling story  with style and truth. Steve O’Connell and Mike Tepeli command the stage."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Enter the renowned English actress Mrs. Kendall (the charming Cameron Feagin), who quite astutely sums up that the Elephant Man's idyllic fantasy imagining of women is not to far off from that of most normal men. Given that his reproductive organs were seemingly unaffected by his paralysis, it is no wonder that with no acceptable sexual outlet, his must have been a lonely existence indeed. "The Elephant Man" is a poignant look at Merrick's tormented psyche as well as society's ignorance and intolerance of anyone who is different."

Joe Stead

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...BoHo, a small company that continues to give us quality work, has now taken up residency at the new Theatre Wit building on Belmont in addition to their smaller studio at The Heartland n Rogers park. This allows them a larger stage and the ability to take on bigger projects. The set by Roger Wykes is one of simplicity , allowing the story and the actors to be the focus for the audience. Jared B. Moore’s lighting and the costumes by Theresa Ham and Sarah Putnam along with the music and sound by Joe Griffin complete the picture. Cassy Schillo’s props and the projections by Jill Vane are the icing on the cake."
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Alan Bresloff

Reviews You Can Iews - Recommended

"... I think the BEST performance of the night goes to Steve O'Connell. He was great as the doctor on the edge and I have high hopes of never auditioning against him. That will be hard, since we are both tall and handsome leading men. Go see this play, it's got a minimal set but I hear Bohemian Theatre is a great company to watch in the future, so get in on the ground floor!"
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Eric and Andy

Chicago Theater Beat - Recommended

"...Just what is the price for belonging and acceptance? What if one can never fulfill the requirements for being part of the society of the human race, no matter how gentle, law-abiding and meritorious one is, no matter what efforts others make to provide some integration? Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man is unique in that it takes these issues to absolute extremes and forces us to see ourselves through its funhouse mirror. Boho Theatre has mounted an elegant, stately and psychologically mature production at Theatre Wit. June Eubanks’ direction adheres to the minimalist aesthetic and self-consciousness theatricality the play was born in, crystallizing poetically profound moments that elevate language much in the same way that John Merrick (Mike Tepeli) describes the effect of the uplifting architecture of St. Philip’s church."

Paige Listerud

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