In 1854, there were living on the streets of New York City over 10,000 abandoned orphaned children. Out of this desperate situation was born the orphan Train. This is a fictionalized account, based on actual events.
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of kindness, intelligence and sophistication.
Although based on the same title and historical figures as David Lynch's The Elephant Man (1980), that movie avoided using this 1979 play as a source, going instead to primary sources and medical histories. See more »
I think this was almost as good as the stage version itself, and is so much more powerful than the make-up dependent film. I guess it requires audience intelligence and imagination (unlike the movie), but the wonder of Pomerance's play is that every one watching can create their own deformities on the character, making it a personal nightmare.
This is also based not on things Joseph Merrick wrote, but on the journals of the doctor. It is not about deformity (like the film) but about the choices society makes and the illusions society preserves. Dr, Treves' vision of his life, his work, and his world is profoundly altered by the experience described, and he is our "point of entry" - so our vision is changed as well.
A fantastic piece of work overall.
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