By Timothy E. Wood II
The theater department’s last production of the year tells the haunting true story of a town’s vengeance on an a murdering elephant.
A tent reaches up high, red and white. The smell of hay and animal breath accompanies the trumpeting of elephants. It’s the circus in the early 20th century, fully of whimsy and magic. It is here in this place of childhood fantasy that the harsh realities of cruelty and moral bankruptcy play out, culminating in the death of an elephant, the very embodiment of the circus. In the theater department’s last production of the year, “Elephant’s Graveyard” is dark and heartbreaking.
Based on a true story, “Elephant’s Graveyard” is a tragic tale of a female circus elephant named Mary who was strung up and executed by the residents of a early twentieth century Tennessee town as punishment for killing one of her cruel handlers. Professor Terry Petrie is directing the production while student Cameron Garcia is the Production Stage Manager.
The play relies heavily on not only sound but also pantomime. “We provide all the sound effects,” Garcia said. “The audience is meant to use their own imagination to fill in the experience. Even the elephant is made up of multiple performers in a cirque du soleil style.”
As part of the production, Petrie implemented unique production team training.
“The director had those playing the town folk and those playing the circus people isolated from each other for the first few practices,” said Scott Twitchell, a member of the cast.
Both Twitchell and Garcia agreed that the crew is talented, half the team of 21 performers being well-seasoned and almost ready to graduate while the other half are new with no experience except for high school productions and classes. However, they all are said to hold their own and that the expectations for Elephant’s Graveyard are very high. Twitchell expressed one of the goals of the performance is to, “Give the audience a personal experience. To feel a need for change or betterment.”
The performance is open from Dec. 1 through 10 in the Noorda Regional Theatre Center for Children and Youth at 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1-3, 5-10–7:30 p.m.
Dec. 3 & 10–2:00 p.m.
Dec. 6 & 7–10:00 a.m.
$7/students, $9/general admission
Tickets can be purchased at the Noorda Theater box office or at uvu.edu/arts