Director Colin Blumenau manages to authentically bring this tragic story to life.
Based on real events that took place in Tennessee in 1916, George Brant captures the story of what happened to Mary the elephant in a brutal but compelling way.
Now brought to life again in this digital performance, Elephant’s Graveyard recounts the tragic story through a series of monologues, as seen through the eyes of those who were there to enjoy the circus and the parade with tragic consequences that led to the only known lynching of an elephant.
Director Colin Blumenau manages to keep the story feeling authentic with its period photographs forming the background, the costumes reflecting the characters well and the direct character facing camera approach that really captures the audiences focus.
With each monologue, Brant manages to ensure that there are plenty of perspectives and attitudes – from the excitement of the townspeople looking for glamour and entertainment, to the same townspeople attitude changing after a tragic death that leads to the horrific climax to one of bloodlust and vengeance. It is certainly a piece of drama that really intensifies as it goes on, as well as becoming increasingly compelling to watch.
But underneath the horror and viciousness, there is compassion to be found within Elephant’s Graveyard too – with Philippa Hogg as the trainer in particular putting on a heartbreaking performance while capturing the bond character has with Mary with tenderness. Equally, Dannie Harris as the Ballet Girl manages to highlight the affection that her character has for the elephant in a compassionate and sincere way. These performances in particular are both effective in capturing the horror of the unfolding circumstances in a simple and straightforward manner.
There are perhaps some bumps along the way in terms of the editing, with the sound effects and music sometimes coming across as not interlinking with the image as well as it could be – this is certainly an ambitious production.
Elephant’s Graveyard is certainly a chilling but compelling watch that manages to capture the glamour as well as the horror of the world of circus vividly.
By Emma Clarendon
Today (19th September) is the last day to catch this production. For more information and to purchase a ticket visit: https://tpetv.com/