The show is performed as a recitation to the audience. We learn what that elephant meant to townspeople and circus folk alike. Beautifully costumed (by Amy Francisco) the circus performers and townsfolk relate the tale, as they decorate the set with colorful circus posters (set by Justin E. Brewer) The story is tossed back and forth between characters, offering insights into their own personalities and motivations. Jim Coyer was especially touching as Mary's trainer.
The story has a circus-y flair with flashy Circus Girl (Hannah Feuka) Ringmaster (Ndegwa McCloud) Strongman (Emiio Pido) and Clown (Ian Hanratty). Hungry Townsperson Ja’nay Duncan eats peanuts and offers pithy commentary, with Muddy Townsperson Ann Carlson by her side. Steam Shovel Operator Justin E. Brewer offers drunken earnestness, and Sarah Hoogstraten presents a child’s view, with town dog (Marley) by her side.
The circus-parade mood of the beginning devolves into a gruesome execution — all in our imaginations — with the help of chains and lighting (Nick Eaton). There are hints from such characters as the ominous Engineer (Jesse Frawley) the religious Deacon (Kylie Densmore) businesslike Tour Manager (Maria George) and boastful Marshall (Hunter Folleth) suggesting that perhaps progress, fundamentalism, corporate greed, racism...or some other human failings may be implicated/symbolized in Elephant Mary’s demise.
As always at the Ledges Playhouse in Fitzgerald Park, Grand Ledge, dress for the weather. There are ceiling fans and cold drinks you can bring into the audience - but it can get pretty toasty after a warm day. This show is only about 75 minutes, with no intermission, so be sure to get your cold drink before the show. There is a bit of “adult” language; this is not a “circus show” for young children.
Elephant’s Graveyard continues Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2 through July 16.