Monday, January 10, 2011

The Elephant Man (Bohemian Theatre Company)

My friend Anita and I went to see The Elephant Man at the new Theater Wit space, but first we stopped off at The Gondola. The Gondola is the new restaurant across the street there, where Joey's Brickhouse used to be, and let me tell you, it was hoppin'!
We didn't have tons of time, so we settled on an order of baked clams and a conversation about our lives.
When the food came out, Anita put a whole clam in her mouth. She bit down and with shock and despair in her voice she shouted "They left half the goddammed shell on this thing!"

Yes, Country Mouse, they sure did.

After we figured who to blame for leaving the shells on the bottom of these baked clams, we told the waitress we would only be paying half price, because you could only eat the top half of these things and we also suggested that the chef should, perhaps return to cooking school and take a class on mollusks.

After dinner, we wandered over to Theater Wit. What a great new theater! The box office was friendly and the concessions area was clean and bright!
I ordered a ginger ale with some ice for the show. I saw that it was about 1:45 without an intermission and I knew I would be thirsty.
Why do shows go that long without intermissions? Can they not afford one?
I wanted to let them know that over at Steppenwolf they have a show with 2 intermissions, and maybe they would be willing to donate one. This seemed like it might come off as a little sarcastic, so I just let things be and found our seats.

What do you know about the play "The Elephant Man"?
Here's what I knew.
John Merrick was this real dude that had some crazy weird growths all over him. I had also surmised from this that the play was about acceptance of others no matter what their appearance is and that people would probably have accents.

I was right about both of those things.
The play is directed by June Eubanks, and one of the tricks she uses is, she projects the scene number and name up across the stage (like Frazier), and then an actor comes out and reads it. This device is used sometimes to make scene changes seem less utilitarian and add a touch of whimsy to the thing. Now, there are like 57 scenes in this play, so needless to say some of the scenes are very short, so sometimes it would go like this:
A scene would end, and a new scene would flash across the stage. For example:

Scene XIVX
There Is Only Darkness In This Room

and then here's the scene...

Doctor: What are you doing here?
Merrick: Catching lightning bugs. I use this for light.
Doctor: What for?
Merrick: There is only darkness in this room.

And that's the whole scene.

So there were like, 80 scenes like that. Now, to the directors credit, it was easy to follow everything, and you were always rooting for the Elephant guy. You want him to live or whatever he wants to do, and he also builds little cardboard houses or something, they never really got into that, but I bet that's what it was because once he was taken into captivity, he was probably pretty bored, just like elephants at the zoo.

Well at about scene 37, I was running out of ginger ale and so when I put the cup to my mouth, the ice would slide all the way down and when I put the cup back, the ice would crash at the bottom of the cup. At first I didn't notice, but as I kept doing it, I started to notice a certain set of eyes on me. Those eyes belong to a certain reviewer in town with a name that rhymes with Rom Rilliams. He was looking at me like he wanted to rape me in the alley. Well, you can bet that that was the last time I tried to drink any ginger ale!

Anyway, the acting is pretty good I guess. Here's the thing. Remember when you where in high school and everyone made fun of you for doing faggoty plays with British accents? This is one of those plays. The guy who plays the Elephant man is named Mike Tepeli. He's pretty new I think, but he's good. He's sort of like Will Allan I think.
Then there is Cameron Feagin who plays a whore with a heart of gold. She is REALLY good, but they don't do the topless scene for everyone to see boobs, only the Elephant Man gets to see them. Feagin has been doing a lot of plays lately and you can see why. She's very natural and has a nice speaking voice.
Zach Bloomfield is this guy who plays weirdos and he doesn't disappoint here. He plays a really creepy dude that ends up looking for some forgiveness, but is really just a douche.
But I think the BEST performance of the night goes to Steve O'Connell. He was great as the doctor on the edge and I have high hopes of never auditioning against him. That will be hard, since we are both tall and handsome leading men.

Go see this play, it's got a minimal set but I hear Bohemian Theatre is a great company to watch in the future, so get in on the ground floor!


-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

P.S. After the play, I saw Rom Rilliams order a ginger ale, so maybe he was just looking at me like that because he was jealous.


  1. I'm really glad to see there's finally a tag for shows without any female above-waist nudity. It's gonna really help when I figure out what shows I can afford to miss.

  2. Rom Rilliams is my favorite Riter. After Randy Rawfer, of course.

  3. Wow maybe you should go see the show again and pay attention this time. You seem to have missed alot. Too many drinks at the bar before the show?
    Cameron Feagin who plays a whore with a heart of gold-she plays an actress hired to be Merrick's friend who actually becomes his friend and cares for him deeply. The elephant man is not playing with cardboard houses and they actually did get into that-you obviously must have been playing with your ice during most of this show.You as a failed actor must have nothing better to do with your time than post inaccurate and silly blogposts.

  4. Dear "Anonymous", It seems to me and every other fan of this blog that perhaps you just don't get it. Does this happen to you a lot? Sad for you. How brave you are to anonymously attack a perfectly respectful, hardworking man in our community (who does not drink by the way) because you have no sense of humor or any sense of tact. I'm sure you have better things to do than post comments on this "inaccurate and silly" blog. Get over yourself.

  5. Wow. I am sure that La Gondola and the concession stand are grateful for this theatre review.

  6. Now I want some clams and a ginger ale.

  7. This review made my day. And made me spit my tea at the Cameron Feagin character description.
    Thank you, gentlemen.

  8. While I find do find this funny out of context, you need to know what a terrible impression this makes for you as an actor. I would delete this posting if I were you; it makes you seem like a bitter smoked-out faux thespian, and quite honestly leaves a bad impression of the factory theatre (yes, googling your name allows me to find who you work with) for those who see it.
    Although I appreciate the shout out...sort of. And I wasn't looking at your ginger ale.

  9. ....It's funny guys. Relax! It's just theatre right?

    Thank you for your review!


  11. Listen guys.
    I'm just a Factory Theatre guy trying to have a little fun with some buddies and increase awareness in the community.
    Tom Williams has always been very kind to me in reviews, and just so you know, I was referring to Jom Billiams from the Windy Theatre Blog. I know that Tom Williams hates ginger ale.
    Thanks for reading Reviews You Can Iews!!

  12. 1) I highly doubt that is actually Tom Williams
    2) I know Tepeli and while I don't know if that's actually him who posted, we read this last night together and he was laughing hysterically. And Michael Kingston, who posted as well, was in the show!! Lets have a sense of humor guys! Its just chicago store front theatre!

  13. Has anyone read Ada Gray's reviews??? That critic has no idea what she's talking about. It really reflects poorly on her pre-school.

  14. Um...the review was a B+, he actually said "Go see this play." I'm not sure what Anonymous was pissed about. But ginger ale kinda sucks.

  15. Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!