Tuesday, September 29, 2015
There are some stories in American history that need to be told because they resonate through the ages. In September of 1916 the god fearing people of Erwin, Tennessee lynched an elephant named Mary. She was a star in Spark's World Famous Circus. The 18 year old elephant had grown up in captivity. Red Elkridge, on his second day on the job got thrown and then had his head crushed when Mary stomped on his skull. For this, Mary was sent and to death, and the giant railroad cranes of the Blue Ridge Railroad were to be the engines of her demise. She was chained by the neck and hung. Man's Dominion provided a voice for ten witnesses and participants in this horrific event.
Presented by Pachyderm Productions, Tim Powell performed in this tour De-force one man show this one man show That brought ten characters to life. The play written by David Castro and directed by, Dennis Neal peals away the layers to show man's basest nature. I've seen many one man shows at Fringe but none of them compared to the emotional punch of this show. A circus ringmaster opened the show, setting the scene. The show became particularly powerful when Fish, an Irish Roustabout, spoke about the lynching feeling that Red, an outsider, deserved what he got. Captain Prescott who had seen slavery and lynching gave his insights into the white man's blood lust. Reverend George McKee became more and more demonic as he spoke a boot man's dominion over the animals and the need for vengeance. Hobo Joe, a clown, had spent years working beside Mary and he blamed Red for his mishandling of the billhook. A bullhook is a sharp steel hook that is used to this day to inflict pain when used to poke elephants where there skin is the most tender and sensitive. It is a tool of torture.
There was a talk back after the show. Tim who resides in Los Angeles confided that he had reached a low point in his career. He didn't even want to get up in the morning. He was introduced to David's play and his southern up bringing made him the perfect actor for the part. He asked Dennis Neal to direct. This was Tim's first one man show, and it was Dennis's directing debut.
There were just five shows of Man's Dominion at the Mad Cow Theater (54 West Church Street Orlando FL). The show is heading to the New York City next at the United Solo Festival on October 9th, 2015 in Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, New York City). There is only one show at 7:30pm.