The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance premiered at the Hampstead Theatre in London in November, 1977, and later played in repertory at the National Theatre in London. The story is based on the life of Joseph Merrick, referred to in the script as John Merrick, who lived in the Victorian era and is known for the extreme deformity of his body. The lead role of Merrick was originated by David Schofield in a definitive performance. Subsequent productions starred actors including Philip Anglim, Mark Hamill, Bruce Davison, Bradley Cooper, and David Bowie. Here’s Bowie in 1980 discussing his preparation for the role.