AUBURN UNIVERSITY – When a circus elephant kills her keeper, a haunting tale of spectacle, violence and revenge follows in George Brant’s “Elephant’s Graveyard.” Based on a true story that happened in a small town in Tennessee in 1916, the new play closes the 2012-13 season for Auburn University Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts. The show runs April 16-20 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance April 21 at 2:30 p.m. on the mainstage of the Telfair B. Peet Theatre.
The play was drawn from Brant’s own research into the real-life incident in which the townspeople of Erwin, Tenn., lynched a circus elephant named Mary after she killed her handler in 1916.
“‘Elephant’s Graveyard’ is a play about community,” said director Chase Bringardner, “the communities we are born into, the communities we grow into, the communities that constitute around us. These communities can be good and bad, positive and negative, safe and threatening; they can change and shift at a moment’s notice. ‘Elephant’s Graveyard’ presents the audience with a specific, historic case study of communities clashing and the aftermath for a small town in Tennessee. Yet Erwin could easily be Auburn or any other of the hundreds of thousands of small towns that dot the landscape across this country connected by rail lines first built well over a hundred years ago. The story this ensemble tells is as relevant today as it was in 1916; the people of Erwin and Sparks Circus have a vital, vibrant, visceral message to impart with Mary as the unexpected (or expected) vehicle.”
Playwright George Brant received his M.F.A. in writing from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of more than 20 plays including the award-winning “Elephant’s Graveyard,” which has been performed more than 100 times in just the past few years.
The Auburn University Theatre production of “Elephant’s Graveyard” features scenic and lighting design and costume design from faculty members Fereshteh Rostampour and Tracy Oleinick. Sound design is from student designer Gary Castriota. The stage manager is Kayla Zinke. The cast includes Tyler Baxter, Shelby Blezinger, Blake Burgess, Winn Carroll, Anna Caudle, Sharrell Edmond, Jake Heflin, Chandler Jones, Garrett Keller, Madeline Koon, Jordan Lunstead, Ashton Ron-Gabriel, David Tourtellotte, Richard Trammel and AnnaClaire Walker.
General admission tickets are $15 and $10 for seniors, Auburn University faculty and staff and non-Auburn University students. Auburn University students may reserve a complimentary ticket at www.auburnuniversitytheatre.org.
(Written by Kelly Walker.)