Almost everyone is familiar with Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, written in 1886. But in Jeffrey Thatcher’s 2008 adaptation of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, which the N.C. State University Theatre is performing now through April 17th in Titmus Theatre in NCSU’s Frank Thompson Hall, adds some twists that serve to deepen or broaden Stevenson’s pre-Freudian exploration into the multiplicity of human personality structure.
Victorian social strictures created ambiguities between good and evil that became apparent to many of the time, and Stevenson sought to expose the social hypocrisy involved in the dichotomy between private lusts and public behavior. Thatcher offers us four distinct Edward Hydes, each representing a different facet of evil and all capable of interacting as discrete creatures with Jekyll.
Jayme Mallema has created a magnificent set, which provides the walls for many locations, and yet has a unifying sense of repetition, with niches for laboratory apparatuses, chemicals, and a myriad of other scientific paraphernalia.
The walls reflect distortedly, with a center door that at times reflects and at times is transparent. There is a movable staircase that provides access and egress from the balcony to an operating theater and another scene, and a moveable red door appears from time to time, allowing for sudden scene changes into new neighborhoods.
Lighting designer Joshua Reaves enhances scenes with stark, eerie, even chilling dramatic effects, and fills the balcony area with an assortment of abstract and representative designs. Costumes appropriate for the era were designed by Laura J. Parker
Director Mia Self shows expertise in working with young actors and getting the best out of them, especially when they are not theater majors. That said, this cast offers an entertaining and thoughtful evening of drama, fright, intensity, and humor. The scene in which Dr. Jekyll is set upon by his four alter-egos is powerful stuff, both dramatically and psychologically.
Nico Peaks deftly takes on the role of Dr. Jekyll, demonstrating his character’s mental anguish and social ambivalence. 052416live is stuffy as a Victorian Lord, and vulnerable as a man of conscience; he is serious in his search for truth and horrified at the monsters that he has created from himself.
Louis Bailey, Raven Stone, Matthew Tucker, and Sydney Smallwood play the Edward Hyde roles, as well as multiple other characters. The Hydes are nicely differentiated from each other, and their alternate roles often involve quick changes of costumes, as well as personality traits. Props for those efforts! Sometimes, we had some difficulty understanding their diction, however. More vocal training would be helpful.
A character not encountered in Stevenson’s story is Elizabeth Jelkes, a prostitute with the proverbial heart of gold. Jelkes is warmly played by Mary Elizabeth Lennon.
N.C. State University Theatre consistently presents polished, enjoyable entertainment to the community. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde lives up to this fine reputation.
SECOND OPINION: Feb. 19th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: MMM (Note: You must subscribe to read this article).
N.C. State University Theatre presents DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE at 7:30 p.m. April 8 and 9, 2 p.m. April 10, 7:30 p.m. April 13-16, and 2 p.m. April 10 in Titmus Theatre in Frank Thompson Hall, 2241 Dunn Ave., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.
TICKETS: $20 ($6 NSCU students, $12 students, $16 NSCU faculty and staff, and $18 seniors 60+), except $12 on Community Night (Feb. 17th).
BOX OFFICE: 919-515-1100 or http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?organ_val=22089&event_val=HYDE.
SHOW: https://theatre.arts.ncsu.edu/whats-on-stage/ and https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde-at-NC-State-University-Theatre-203209803361220/.
PRESENTER: https://theatre.arts.ncsu.edu/, https://www.facebook.com/ncstateuniversitytheatre, and https://twitter.com/ncsutheatre.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886 novella): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Case_of_Dr_Jekyll_and_Mr_Hyde (Wikipedia).
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (e-text): http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42 (Project Gutenberg).
Robert Louis Stevenson (Scottish writer, 1850-94): http://www.robert-louis-stevenson.org/ (Edinburgh University) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Louis_Stevenson (Wikipedia).
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (2008 drama): http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3985 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.).
The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Jeffrey Hatcher (playwright and screenwriter): http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/109903 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0368774/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Hatcher (Wikipedia).
Mia Self (director and assistant director of acting and directing at University Theatre): https://theatre.arts.ncsu.edu/our-team/ (University Theatre bio) and https://www.facebook.com/mia.self.31 (Facebook page).
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.