A local church is pooling its talent to bring the community a live stage performance of Bernard Pomerance’s “The Elephant Man” for the next two weekends. The Sanctuary in Newhall has built a professionally designed stage and with a combination of entertainment industry talent from their congregation is bringing the thought-provoking script to life.
“The reason we chose ‘Elephant Man’ is because we loved the story as it is, but also what it represents historically, because it stems from an actual life, as the story suggests,” said Jonathan Edwards, executive pastor at The Sanctuary. “The story allows someone taking in the story to not only hear and listen and watch a story play out, but oddly enough, identify with it.”
The main character in the drama — “John Merrick” — is based on the life of Joseph Merrick, a 19th century Londoner who was born horribly disfigured. The storyline covers the ability of a young doctor to transform him from an object of pity to a favorite of the aristocracy.
Directed by actor Mark Henderson, a member of The Sanctuary’s congregation, the aim of the church’s production is to inspire a depth of thought and discussion.
“With some plays you go to you walk away and say, ‘That was cool; that was fun.’ But with this one you get in the car, you sit down and ask yourself, ‘How does this apply to me?’” Edwards said. “My issues might not be as evident as this man, John Merrick, but — you know what? We all have a version of what this man went through.”
Performances are May 12-14 and May 19-21 at 7 p.m., with one matinee on May 20 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and may be purchased online at ElephantManPlay.com.
The Sanctuary Church is located at 26444 Friendly Valley Parkway in Santa Clarita.