Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 16
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
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Theatre Intime Stages “The Elephant Man,” 1979 Broadway Hit; Abnormalities of the Main Character Reflect Our Own Deformities

Donald Gilpin

The Elephant Man is the story of the last seven years, 1884-1890, in the life of John Merrick of London, the “Elephant Man,” who suffered from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that caused him to be grotesquely deformed.

Currently at Theatre Intime on the Princeton University campus, Bernard Pomerance’s drama, first produced in London in 1977, then on Broadway 1979-80, where it won both Tony and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for best play, shines a discerning light on both the sordid and the inspirational details of Merrick’s life. It gives equal attention to Merrick’s impact on those with whom he comes into contact. Frederick Treves, a rising young London physician who takes an interest in his case, rescues Merrick from freak show performances in the street and finds him a home at a prominent London hospital, and the prominent actress Madge Kendal, who befriends them both, share center stage with Merrick in Mr. Pomerance’s play.

Princeton University Orchestra Brings Beethoven, Mahler and Strauss to the Richardson Stage

Nancy Plum

In the written program of the recent Princeton University Orchestra concert, there was the annual list of the Orchestra’s graduating seniors and their plans for next year, in which one student commented that “Mahler’s ghost, it would seem, is particularly at home in Richardson Auditorium.” Mahler’s ghost would have had a busy day last Friday, between the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of Symphony #4 in the afternoon and the Princeton University Orchestra’s annual Stuart B. Mindlin Memorial Concert at night. University Orchestra conductor Michael Pratt often programs complete Mahler symphonies for this concert, which honors a former Orchestra percussionist, but expanded this year’s program to include Beethoven and Richard Strauss. Friday night’s concert in Richardson (the performance was repeated Saturday night) brought together extremely challenging repertory with a very large orchestral ensemble in which all players gave 110%.


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