‘The Elephant Man’ play chronicles life story of disfigured man

Theatre TCU’s upcoming production of “The Elephant Man” allowed student performers valuable experience and aimed to offer diversity to its audience.

“The Elephant Man” is a play that follows the life story of a heavily disfigured man, John Merrick, who is rescued by a Victorian surgeon from an abusive life as a sideshow freak, Alan Shorter, associate professor for the Department of Theatre, said.

Shorter said the excitement of staging “The Elephant Man” was just as much about who gets to direct the play as it is about who is cast in the lead role.

“The Elephant Man” is a play Shorter said he has always wanted to direct.

Scott Alan Moffitt, a senior BFA acting major, said as a BFA student in the theatre department, he is required to audition for all the shows, but he said he is excited to be performing in this one.

Moffitt will be playing the role of John Merrick, “The Elephant Man,” he said.

“Part of me wanted it, but I was actually going for the other lead role of Frederick Treves. Treves is a more straight-laced doctor character,” he said.

Moffitt said he was pleasantly surprised to be cast in the title role.

Alexandra Herring, a senior film-television-digtal media major, said the department casts students for every show at auditions at the beginning of the season. Herring said she got call backs for both “The Yellow Boat” and “The Elephant Man.”

A lot of studying has been done on this show by Shorter, Herring said. Shorter shared his research with the student actors and actresses, she said.

Shorter said the productions not only have to be entertaining for the audiences but also applicable to the degree programs offered at the university.

“When we look at productions, we try to get a real balance of what a student is exposed to over the four years while they are working on their degree in the department,” Shorter said. “We want to make sure there is a variety of periods and playwrights.”

When planning the season, Theatre TCU picks a range of shows to offer diversity to audiences and performers.

“Sometimes we have a show like [“The Elephant Man”] that was actually written in the ‘70s, but it takes place in another period,” Shorter said. “This is why we consider it to be contemporary rather than a period piece.”

The Elephant Man
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb 28 – March 2
     2:30 & 7:30 p.m. March 3
     2:30 p.m. March 4
Where: Buschman Theatre
Cost: $5 for TCU Students, Faculty, Seniors and Children

  $10 for Adults