Jekyll And Hyde

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Jekyll And Hyde

Post by RJDiogenes » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:17 pm

Last night I saw Jekyll and Hyde at the Company Theater. It's described as a new version of the play and it does feel very contemporary, as it's pretty graphic in places, though it is a faithful adaptation in spirit. Several years ago, Company Theater had a performance of Dracula and I was pleasantly surprised by the intensity and sexuality; this version of Jekyll and Hyde was just as good.

As I said, some scenes were very graphic, including a scene of an autopsy of a prostitute. There is another scene involving Hyde visiting some violence upon a prostitute that showed quite a bit of skin (and the actress was one of my niece's teachers at theater camp this past Summer-- and my niece was with me-- I don't think my sister realized the play would be quite this graphic). Also, there is a scene where Hyde kills Doctor Carew (who in this version is a bitter enemy of Jekyll) and the killing is quite brutal. The murder of Lanyon by Jekyll is also disturbingly graphic.

The two characters of Jekyll and Hyde are handled with some surreal stageplay. They are frequently on stage together and converse with each other, and only in context does the audience know which one is "alive" at the time. There are also scenes where multiple Hydes swirl around Jekyll, driving him mad, and the other Hydes are played by other characters doing double duty.

The story is mostly faithful in spirit, though a few changes have been made to events and characters. The Victorian sensibility is intact, including the simplistic view of good and evil, as well as the negative view of sexuality and the exotic portrayal of mind-altering substances. But the simple message is powerful and not wrong; just incomplete. Certainly the characters and relationships (and the tendency of some to self-destruction) are just as familiar in the 21st century as they were in the 19th.
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