A new production of a timeless classic:
The Elephant Man, directed by Shintaro Mori in Fall 2020
It is the 1880s, in London after the industrial revolution. A young man named John Merrick was called “The Elephant Man” because of his enormous head and severely deformed body. One day, thanks to an encounter with the surgeon Frederick Treves, Merrick is able to live something like a normal life for the very first time. Until then, Merrick was put on display as a freak. But eventually he caught the attention of those who realized that he was an intelligent and kind-hearted young man.
Nozomu Kotaki (a member of Johnny’s West) takes on the challenge of playing the titular Elephant Man for this performance. This is a role that is famous in theater history and that has been portrayed by stars from across the globe. The part is played without any special makeup, instead requiring the actor to rely on their own disciplined physicality in order to portray the character and express Merrick’s pure and innocent inner life. How will an actor who is over 180cm tall with a classically handsome face like Kotaki collaborate with a cutting edge stage director like Shintaro Mori to portray the uncanny beauty of this young man? There’s no doubt that this will be the can’t miss performance of the fall.
The rest of the cast includes Koen Kondo in the role of Dr. Treves, who comes face to face with his own inner ugliness through his relationship with Merrick, Katsumi Kiba as the hospital director, Saki Takaoka as Mrs. Kendal, who introduces Merrick to a woman’s charm for the very first time, and Osamu Kao, Maki Kubota, Ryusuke Komakine, Maeda Issei, and Kaoru Yamazaki playing a variety of roles across the social strata, ranging from aristocrats to servants. Don’t miss this new performance of The Elephant Man, brought to you by a truly talented and star-studded cast of 9 and a staff team composed of the leading lights of Japanese theater, with director Shintaro Mori at the helm.
It is 19th century London. John Merrick is a young man who is exhibited in a freak show and called The Elephant Man because of his appearance. He has protrusions growing from the forehead of his enlarged skull and tumors covering his body, making it difficult for him to even walk. One day, the surgeon Frederick Treves sees him at the freak show and takes him away from it for research purposes, allowing Merrick to live in the attic of the hospital where he works. For Merrick, this attic became the first space in his life that was a real home, a place for rest and relaxation.
At first, Treves thought Merrick had an intellectual disability. However, Treves discovered this was not true. Not only that, Treves learned that Merrick was dedicated to reading The Bible, a lover of the arts, and a pure-hearted young man. At first, Merrick seemed too scared to interact with anyone. However, as he spent time with Treves, Merrick began to open his heart to the world around him. Through these interactions, Treves also begins to look inward and search his own soul.
The gentle-hearted Merrick received numerous visits from people in high society. One of those visitors was a stage actress named Mrs. Kendal. Mrs. Kendal’s presence makes Merrick aware of his feelings for the opposite sex, sending his heart racing. After this, Merrick begins to be driven by an urge to act how any other normal person would . . .
Cast & Creative
Written by Bernard Pomerance
Translation by Kayoko Jo
Directed by Shintaro Mori
Nozomu Kotaki(a member of Johnny’s West)
Koen Kondo, Osamu Kao, Maki Kubota, Ryusuke Komakine, Maeda Issei, Kaoru Yamazaki／
Saki Takaoka, Katsumi Kiba