Our friends at Rising Sun Production Company have raised the bar once again with their World Premiere of ÉLÉPHANT, written by Eva MeiLing Pollitt. Elephant opened to rave reviews at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity and has been so popular, it was just picked up by Horse Trade Theater Group for an additional four performances at the Kraine Theatre!
A Fantastical Coming-of-Age Story
This phantasmagorical play, set in 1890’s France, follows the coming-of-age of Clérèse (Raiane Cantisano), who has grown up in the cloistered world of a brothel where her mother works. Vulnerable, naive, yet knowing beyond her years (the difference between fucking and making love, for example), Clérèse looks forward to earning money as soon as she “bleeds.” But when that day comes, events take a strange,even eerie turn.
She meets 16-year-old Jeunhomme (William Serri), garçon to the blind Grandhomme (Eric Parness), a client of her mother Magdith (Ita Korenzecher). Jeunhomme woos her with a drawing of an animal she’s never seen, an elephant. They make love, he proclaims he will return to rescue her. We hope so, yet fear he won’t.
Clérèse dreams of a stream in brightly-colored India flowing with honey, where a nine-year-old prostitute (Ayesha Saleh) does her laundry. A baby elephant cries out to her.
Only two weeks later, Clérèse’s belly is visibly swollen. She is pregnant, and as the days pass her belly grows at an alarming rate. Rumors abound in the brothel about who is the father. Jeunhomme? The blind Bonhomme? Clérèse’s own father?
The play enters a dark, harrowing place. Bonhomme and Jeunhomme return, and Clérèse’s worlds collide violently.
What will become of Magdid and Clérèse now?
Next stop, Broadway?
We would not be surprised if they will reappear one day on Broadway. Their story is bold and bittersweet, offering a moving glimpse into the power of a young girl.
Congratulations to co-directors Akia Squitieri and Anna Hogan, who juggle a large, talented ensemble and turn a minimal set into a fabulous world!
Ellen and Nat