“Elephant Room” is an absurd performance-art piece that takes the form of an evening-length magic show to embrace and expose the currency of deception in contemporary American culture. In true Rainpan 43 fashion, this is an actor-driven show that is both hilarious and though-provoking, ridiculous and poetic, shameless and sincere. In that order.
“Elephant Room” combines the contemporary clowning of Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford with the advanced magic skills of illusionist/actor Steve Cuiffo. It is an evening of phenomenal spectacle and wonder, dance numbers and then more dance numbers.
At the heart of the show are three world-class jackasses: Dennis Diamond, Louie Magic and Darryl Hannah. While the magic functions and will fool the audience, the magicians begin to fall apart. The more the characters posture, front and hide behind their “smoke/mirrors,” the more they reveal their vulnerability.
“We want to do for the magic show what Elizabeth Streb did for acrobatics: strip it down, unearthing the pathos and beauty behind the sheen of a popular entertainment. Like Streb, we will aim for technical precision and rigor while unmasking the human strangeness of wanting to be fooled and amazed. What lurks within the charged transaction of magician-to-audience? The "magical," a magic-based spectacle in the tradition of David Copperfield and Siegfried and Roy, is a uniquely American genre. In this time of disinformation and American hegemony, what can the "magical" tell us about truth-telling and complicity? This is a piece about truth and deception. Self-deception. It is a portrait of our contemporary culture as a juvenile charlatan more concerned with slick outward appearance than depth, spirituality or adulthood. By portraying “David Copperfield” as a buffoon surfing above the crowd on light-sticks with his hair blown back, we expose the sophomoric spine of a veneer-obsessed culture to illuminate the lost little boy - the earnest and geeky Dickensian “David Copperfield” at the heart of the grand illusionist... All the while enjoying some rad-ass magic.”
Elephant Room was commissioned by Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, California, and co-premiered between Arena Stage, Washington DC (Molly Smith, Artistic Director and Edgar Dobbie, Managing Director) and the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Philadelphia, PA. Elephant Room is funded in part by the Creative Capital Foundation, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative and the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Pilot, with lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support was provided by Hunter College Department of Theatre and the Live Arts Brewery (LAB) programs, which are supported by The Kresge Foundation, the Independence Foundation, and The PNC Foundation through PNC Arts Alive.
Philadelphia FringeArts Festival - 2011
Arena Stage, Washington DC - 2012
St. Ann's Warehouse (NYC) - 2012
Kirk Douglas Theatre (LA) - 2012
The Box (NYC) - 2013
Philadelphia FringeArts - 2013
MCA Chicago - 2013
Bard College - 2013
Assembly Rooms (Edinburgh Fringe) - 2014
Creators: Rainpan 43 with Steve Cuiffo
Director: Paul Lazar
Choreography: David Neumann
Set: Mimi Lien
Costumes: Christal Weatherly
Lights: Chris Kuhl
Sound: Nick Kourtides
Puppetry: Eric Wright
Original Illusions: John Gaughn
Total Theatre Award, (Physical/Visual) Edinburgh 2014
The Scotsman, Fringe First Award Edinburgh 2014
Carol Tambor, Best of Edinburgh 2014