Final plays offer a look at two cultures

Two dynamic theater productions are opening on campus as the fall semester comes to a close and gives way to the holiday season.

“The Elephant Man” is based on the 1979 Tony-award-winning play that inspired the 1980 David Lynch film of the same name. Without giving away too much of the story, the production follows a badly deformed John Merrick, played by Dane Oliver, through 19th century London. Merrick becomes the star attraction of a traveling freak show and,, under the care of famous physician Frederick Treves (Dylan Curtis), involves himself with London’s aristocracy where he learns how cruel fate and society can truly be.

J. Daniel Herring, director of “The Elephant Man,” is pleased to have the opportunity to bring the story to life on stage.

“This play really does examine those themes in a way that makes the audience decide for themselves what does make someone beautiful? Is it the outward appearance or what is inside?” Herring said.

Audiences are in for a different experience with “The Elephant Man.” There won’t be a traditional blackout between scenes. Instead, Herring said, “every bit of the transition of scene is done in front of the audience.”

Oliver will be adapting the character’s physical deformities and speech impediment without prosthetics or makeup.

“It’s a neat challenge for the students involved,” Herring said. “It is really a theatrical piece.”

“The Elephant Man” opens this Friday in the John Wright Theatre and will be showing through Dec. 15. Tickets are available at

“La Pastorela” will be celebrating its 20th anniversary, showing for one night only at the Satellite Student Union on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The show will be put on by T.O.R.T.I.L.L.A., Teatro of Raza Towards Involvement in Local Latino Awareness. The script is bilingual and primarily will be in Spanish. The script is based on the Christian story of the shepherds’ journey to Bethlehem for the first Christmas, but has a different take from the traditional plays.

The script, written by siblings Juan and Maria Hernandez, focuses on the Latino community and its struggles with the American Dream.

Admission to “La Pastorela” is free and parking lots A, C, J and V will be open parking for the evening. As a treat, the audience will be served canela tea and pan dulce, a traditional Mexican cinnamon tea and dessert. Mariachi Santa Cruz will perform.

  • J. Daniel Herring

    Correct name for Professor Herring is J. Daniel Herring and not Daniel J. Herring.