The play chronicles the true story of John Merrick, treated first as a fairground freak because of his hideously, repulsively deformed body and later exploited more subtly by Victorian society. As a carnival attraction, Merrick is known only as ‘The Elephant Man’. Riots are started due to his repulsive looks. Eventually, Merrick is discovered by a young doctor, Treves. Treves provides him with a home in the London Hospital where Merrick is cared for well but also shrewdly used for fund-raising. Merrick is then introduced to high society and becomes perplexed at the often hypocritical Victorian values. Merrick soon develops a close friendship with an actress, Mrs Kendall. With his one working hand, he also manages to create an amazing replica of St. Phillip’s church. However, in the end, Merrick dies in his sleep due to the immense weight of his abnormal head. This story takes place from 1884 until 1890, mostly in London (with one scene in Belgium). The play questions the morality of European colonialism, the selflessness of charity, the relative importance of the spiritual vs. the physical, the rampant abuse of exploitation, and the merits of science vs. religion.