The Elephant Man


Gabriella Tranchina

When it was announced that Bradley Cooper would be taking on the roll of the real life deformed human, Joseph Merrick, peoplewere fascinated, confused, and excited to see how this would play out in one of Broadway’s most recent revivals, the Elephant Man. The Elephant Man is the true story of Joseph or John Merrick who was born with a disease that worsened as he got older. This illness caused him to become physically deformed and almost take on the look of an elephant with rough, lumpy, dark skin and enlarged body parts. After being put through freak shows, he finally found himself in a London Hospital where he lived until he died at age 27.

The script itself was mediocre. The acting however was incomparable. The most amazing thing was that Bradley Cooper had no makeup or special effects to help him look like the elephant man. Rather, he simply conjured his body in different ways and changed his voice and walk. It sounds stupid, I know, but it worked. It didn’t feel like you were watching the Bradley Cooper. It felt more like you were watching a poor, ill, deformed reject of society. His ability to connect to a character that has literally nothing in common with him was absolutely outstanding.

Patricia Clarkson, also known as Emma Stone’s mom in Easy A, played an outgoing actress who is asked to spend time with “John” (as he is referred to in the show). Her performance was captivating. She has one particularly intense emotional scene during the show and you could feel the astonishment of the audience as they watched her perform this intriguing piece. Her character also brings humor to the heavy show, which was a nice breather during this unbelievable experience.

Alessandro Nivola who plays John’s doctor could have been better to put it lightly. I found myself falling asleep during his speeches and his character was so stiff it lacked emotional connection. He seemed to have no sympathy for this poor man.

Overall, the show was amazing. It went by so quickly and even brought tears to my eyes. Whether you like theatre or not, this is a very different and intriguing piece to see and I highly recommend it to all. However, be prepared to cry.