'John Merrick has no hope nor expectation of relief. In every sense his situation is desperate. His physical agony is exceeded only by his mental anguish, a despised creature without consolation.' The Elephant Man is the moving portrayal of John Merrick. Hideously deformed at birth by a rare disease and later used as a freak attraction by nineteenth-century circus owners, Merrick is befriended by a young doctor named Dreves, who provides him with a home at the London Hospital. Here Merrick undergoes a painful self-analysis that strips bare Victorian preconceptions about normality and the parameters of faith. Even those who love him can't help him from his horrible affliction. A raging success both in Britain and on Broadway, the play sparked huge interest in its subject and led to the 1980 film starring John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins. The Elephant Man was first produced in 1977 at the Hampstead Theatre, with David Schofield in the title role.