Snowlion Repertory Company’s latest production couldn’t have been better timed. With Earth Day less than two weeks away, the theater is staging the New England premiere of Darryl Curry’s “The Elephant Piece.” It opened Friday, offering the audience a cautionary fable about mankind’s arrogance and insatiable appetite for destruction.

“The Elephant Piece” is a musical with surreal imagery and satirical bite. Imagine if “White Christmas” took a walk on the dark side with “A Clockwork Orange,” and Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam helped direct it.

Snowlion Repertory’s Mister Bones (David Arthur Bachrach) has a tale to tell that’s far more “terrible” than Danny Kaye’s “way to keep a dog from biting you on Monday.” Greed, ignorance, carelessness, corruption, blood lust, our throw-away society and the literal rape of a country – it’s all there, in the guise of a vaudeville-style performance, “The We Hack Minstrel Show.”

Eleven miscreant “Hackers” lead the audience on a journey of self-discovery through song-and-dance. A 12th character, Paul (Alan Forrest McLucas), and his unseen son Zack (voiced by Liam Swift) provide hope and the voice of reason.

Snowlion Repertory’s producing director, Margit Ahlin, stepped into the role of Pernicia Friday, filling in for Cathy Counts. Cast regulars Angelica Phipps (Iris), Kara Haupt (Chafey), Autumn Pound (Bonita), Bartley Mullin (Butch), Gabriel Walker (Pug), Jim Colby (Buzz), Janie Downey Maxwell (Fawn), John Kreutzberger (Pachy Derman) and Timothy Hartel (Darlene) joined her and Bachrach on a bloodthirsty hunt for the production’s symbolic elephant.

The play’s director, artistic director Al D’Andrea, came up with the idea for the production with Ahlin and Curry in New York several years back, after hearing a story about an elephant in a zoo. Its provocative message remains relevant in today’s society.


“The Elephant Piece” isn’t one of the cookie-cutter classics that leap to mind when picturing a musical. Close your eyes and listen only to the music, and you might very well be lulled to sleep at times by the 13-song score performed by Colby.

But the sharp-witted lyrics and absurd imagery invoke feelings that are far from tranquil: discontent, disbelief and revulsion.

Mankind’s barbarism is certainly nothing new. The Coliseum was the main source of entertainment for the Romans, but has society gone too far with its “accumulation and waste” mentality? To borrow from “White Christmas,” when we “get around to what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting.” And “The Elephant Piece” really gives weight to this notion.

Snowlion Repertory succeeds in delivering a multilayered production that simultaneously entertains and calls the public to action. Will we hear the plight of the Earth and its creatures before it’s too late, or are we too busy hacking out our own piece of the world?

After all, “We are the tribe at the top of the hill,” and “As we smash, the world will crash.”

The theater will host a special performance with a reception on April 16 to benefit Hope Elephants, a conservation organization in the town of Hope that provides care for injured and aging elephants.



April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at:


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