Theater: Freak No More

THE ELEPHANT MAN by Bernard Pomerance

Plays about historical figures rarely cast new light upon the figures or ourselves. Bernard Pomerance, an American living in London, has written a drama about a historical freak that movingly does both.

John Merrick (1863-90) was so monstrously deformed that beside him Caliban might seem shapely. His head had the circumference of a normal man's waist, and the bone structure occluded one eye and twisted his mouth into a slobbering aperture. A spongy cauliflower-shaped mass on the back of his head and other body growths gave off an odious...

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