Monroe Youth Theatre Presents
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ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD BY George Brant
Something astonishing happened in September 1916, in the town of Erwin, Tenn. — a lynching that has made the town infamous for nearly a century. The victim of the killing was proclaimed a murderer by the local populace and sentenced to death without a trial.
Playwright George Brant weaves a compelling tragedy around this odd incident in “Elephant’s Graveyard.” Directed by Allison Pickerell and the students cast of Monroe Youth Theatre. The play examines the range of relationships between humanity and animals, from deep bonds of lifelong affection and friendship to the attitude that animals are disposable and “superior” humans have the right do anything with them that they wish.
For the most part the play follows the actual events — which might have seemed too unbelievable for fiction if they weren’t historically factual. But Brant takes a few liberties with the story, widening its scope in a wonderful way, emphasizing the emotions that people and animals share in spite of our inability to sometimes understand each other.
Because the entire tale is told from the vantage point of the circus troupe and the people of the town, the power of the acting is what drives the show, since we never see the behemoth at the center of everything. Fortunately, the fine cast is up to the task.
As the ringmaster and circus owner, Charlie Sparks is a marvelously flamboyant showman with a hint of darkness. It is he who must decide what to do when Mary attacks a new employee who didn’t handle her properly.
Most moving is Shorty as the elephant’s longtime trainer, who loves Mary and has earned her trust. Because elephants live a long time, she had expected a “lifelong friendship” with Mary. She won’t abandon Mary at the worst point in her life, although the cost to her is huge.
Questions of what defines good and evil, how we assign guilt and the power of fear to motivate our actions are all wrapped up in this story of an elephant that had a gigantic effect on people both in her life and in her dying Kathy and Allison say bring a kleenex!!!!!
Director: Allison Pickerell
Producer: Kathy Grace