Augustana Senior to Produce Elephant's Graveyard

Augustana senior and theatre major Debo Balogun hopes to leave his mark in the Quad Cities before graduating this year by producing an independent production of George Brant’s play Elephant’s Graveyard.
The play follows the true story of America’s only recorded elephant lynching in 1916. When a circus parades through a small town in Tennessee, an inexperienced trainer hits an elephant too close to a previous injury. The elephant reacts by throwing him from her back and crushing his head. Horrified, the townspeople demand that the circus owner lynches the elephant in order to seek justice and preserve his own reputation.
“This play really proves why revenge and specifically murder does not make any situation better,” said Balogun’s dramaturg and fellow student Laura Bergren.
Balogun chose to produce Elephant’s Graveyard this year because it was his first role in high school, and that experience got him interested in theatre. His experience in the show helped Balogun decide to study theatre here at Augustana. He hopes to pay homage to his beginnings with his own personal take on the play.
Along with his personal connection to Elephant’s Graveyard, Balogun believes the play remains relevant in America’s current unstable society. “A lot of the issues the play brings up still ring true today in 2016,” explains Balogun.
Currently, the production is scheduled for two weekends of performances, running May 5-7 and May 12-14 at the Village Theatre in East Davenport.
The production is very much a passion project separate from Balogun’s work as a student here at Augustana. Through Elephant’s Graveyard, Balogun hopes to encourage other Augustana students to pursue their dreams and let their voice be heard, regardless of the roadblocks that may exist.
“Big Broadway stars and musical composers only got to where they are now by being ambitious, by being passionate, by being brave and throwing themselves out there like this,” Balogun reminds students.
The production is entirely student driven, with every role filled by a fellow student. Funds have been raised from friends, family, and fellow theatre fans. These funds cover the rights to the script, scenery, and the theater space for the show.
“I love the idea of putting together a show from nothing but crowd funding and our own love of theatre,” added the project’s scenic designer and Augustana student Emma Brutman.
Students interested in contributing to the project can donate any amount at Auditions will also be posted later this year for actors interested in contributing to the project.