Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Five Hydes in One: Norristown Arts Hill Diary
Randy and I have been looking for some gothic style horror play for years. We have read Every version of Frankenstein, Dr; Jekyll, Jack the Ripper, Dracula and the like. Non really worked for us. They were too stilted and realistic, too abstract and unclear, they had no action or they had no artistry, there were no challenges or the writing s\was just pain awful.
Then in the new acquisitions of a noted theatrical publisher, we saw Jeffry Hatchers version of the play. It had a strong story, a connection to the literature that was firm and honest. It was well written and had a wonderful use of style work. The characters were multiple but the actors were limited and so we could budget the show. Finally, Hyde was played by the entire cast save for Jekyll and Elizabeth.
This provided us with the ability to work with one of our favorite theatrical conventions, the ensemble. We get a lot of complementary comments about the ensembles in our productions and here we would work to make the five Hydes really function through the ensemble work.
The Hydes each had an individual characteristic and yet functioned as a whole, they also had to transform into actual non Hyde characters throughout the play. It was a pleasure to explore the improvisation that underscores our work in a way that not only defined individual characters but also worked to create bridges between the various roles they created.
The scene for the arts festival from Hyde will be played by Steve Mclean, an Iron Age board member and a regular actor with the company. Steve has a sensitivity and depth that worked well for the character of “Hyde 3” or the dominant Hyde. Steve was not a traditional casting decision. He is not a classically attractive ingénue. He is an attractive, middle aged man. This break from the easy choice of the young stud as seducer helped to open the door to the real humanity in Hyde and contrasted against the more square jawed Matthew McDonough who played Jekyll. The romantic scene full of threat, senuality, power, and danger and well and a budding attraction has an intimacy that will be interesting on the bubbling streets of Norristown during a street fair.