Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

For a play with only six cast members and put on in a tiny playhouse, I was mostly impressed with the Talking Horse’s production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher. Though my memory of the book version of the story is mostly vague, as it’s been years since I read it for school, if I recall the details correctly, the play did a pretty good job of following the book.

One exception was Hyde’s intimate relationship with “Elizabeth,” who I’m pretty sure is a made up character. The actress that played Elizabeth (doubling as the murdered prostitute, because, you know, six cast members) was very wrapped up in her role, so much so that everything made her scream. Like, everything. And by scream, I mean a shriek that can only be described as what a female actress may do when trying to act frightened while at the same time underestimating how close the audience is to the small stage.

Also, while I realize we viewed the play on the evening of the actors’ last dress rehearsal and did not see an actual production, the moving of that big red door on wheels could definitely have been more polished. Again, it was a small stage and the audience was very close, but the amount of noise made by the wheels was distracting, and the constant movement of the door was not very fluid. The red door was one of the few large props used in the play and had several purposes, representing many different…doors. Anyway,I digress. Maybe next time when using such a large prop that is required to move so many times, quieter wheels would be useful in such an intimate space.

One thing I found interesting was the use of two completely different main actors for Jekyll and Hyde, and especially two that were so different in appearance. In addition, there were several scenes in which three other actors, a third man and two women, portrayed Hyde, always donning a red mask. My symbolic mind would like to think that this was to represent the idea that Hyde could be anyone, both in the minds of the townspeople in the play and in real life. The fact that Hyde is portrayed by several different people both male and female hints at the idea that evil can take many different forms and is, in fact, inside all of us.

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