Nobody knows what it's like to be disabled more than the people who actually live with disabilities. That's why a new production of Bernard Pomerance's The Elephant Man, presented by the Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League, is certain to have added depth: The play is based on the true story of John Merrick, a deformed nineteenth-century man who endured life first as a circus freak and later as a curiosity on display for the aristocracy.
"It's a story inherently about disability advocacy -- what it's like to live with a disability. We have a whole cast of people with disabilities," notes co-director Bryce Alexander. "From the very first rehearsal, the cast was deeply engaged in the subject matter. They passionately wanted to represent themselves through the characters they play and embrace the message of John Merrick's life. It is represented through PHAMALY more critically and in a more natural sense than could be done by any other company."
The powerful drama opens for previews tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue; the regular run continues Fridays through Sundays through February 4. Admission is $15 for previews and $26 to $29 during the regular run; for more information, go to www.phamaly.org or call 303-739-1970. A weekend of encore performances will be offered at the Arvada Center February 24 through 26; get details at the PHAMALY website.
Jan. 12-13, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 12. Continues through Feb. 4, 2012