On the 26th of March 2016 at 6pm, Almasi presented a staged reading of The Elephant Man by Bernard Pormerance at the Zimbabwe German Society. Directed by Sandra Chidawanyika-Goliath, the staged reading had the participation of professional actors and University of Zimbabwe Students. The staged reading is part of the Capacity Building of Dramatic Artist project supported by The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust in partnership with Sida and Danida.
The Elephant Man is based on the life of Joseph Merrick, a man so physically deformed that he became known as The Elephant Man. With very few options open to him, Merrick (whose first name is John in the play) is forced to display himself to the public in traveling sideshows. Eventually, however, he finds himself alone and destitute in London. Due to the kindness of one Dr. Frederick Treves, Merrick is soon admitted into the London Hospital for care and observation. Treves becomes determined to help Merrick lead a normal life, and Merrick soon becomes the toast of society. In the end however, John Merrick, The Elephant Man, has to face the reality of whether normality is something he can achieve, and the question of whether that is something he even necessarily wants.
CAST & CREW
Lyons | Anthony Mazhetese
Jo-Anne C. Tenga
Stage Manager | Prudence Kalipinde
Operations Manager | Kudakwashe Kanembirira
Associate Artistic Director | Elizabeth Zaza Muchemwa
A NOTE FROM DIRECTOR SANDRA CHIDAWANYIKA-GOLIATH
Of Vulnerability And Risk Taking
“Sometimes you seem like you are being so careful” reads a line from my end of Mentee Directors Training Evaluation of 11 December 2014 by my esteemed mentor Julia Wharton “Miss Julie”. I was eager to work more on this as I developed my directing techniques over the past two years, and to let this reflect, especially, in my play choices. I first read the play, The Elephant Man in early 2015 while searching for my first play to direct as a stage reading for June that year and decided I would love to direct this play one day. I quickly put it aside though, with the excuse that a script with 17 characters required a measure of bravery I had not yet acquired. The truth, however, was that this profound play was too near and dear to my heart to explore. Set in the late nineteenth century, The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance, is based on the life of Joseph Merrick (1862-1890), a man not only horribly physically deformed but also a victim of rare skin and bone diseases. With very few options open to him, Merrick has become the star freak attraction in traveling sideshows. Found abandoned and helpless, he is admitted to a prestigious hospital in London. Under the care of celebrated young physician Frederick Treves, Merrick is introduced to London society and slowly evolves from an object of pity, to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati only to be denied his ultimate dream, to become a man like any other. Along with its very unquestionable themes of alienation and loneliness, bullying, freedom and physical deformity versus beauty, this dark story touched a section of my world in all its difficult, painful and glorious contradictions.