In 1886 a gentleman named Robert Louis Stevenson set pen to paper and created characters so intense and a subject so fascinating that it is considered one of the most adapted stories to this day. In fact, the very names of his characters are synonymous with good and evil. Stage and film versions have been successful over the years as good vs. evil continues to captivate audiences' imagination.
Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis, opens its 2012-13 season with the intellectual thriller, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from Stevenson's novella about split personaties, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," this stage setting is one of an industrial style.
Set in the plush interiors of London attorney Jekyll's home and on the grittiest of London's back alleyways, IRT puts forth an interesting take on the age-old story. As Hyde, Jekyll's alter ego, takes to his evil actions, we are given insight into the mental makeup via four actors representing the internal struggle.
What some may have found confusing at first, others were able to understand immediately director Risa Branin and Hatcher's intent that nothing is black and white. One doesn't slip into evil in one fell swoop but by degrees, inching toward it with variables and factors weighing in throughout the fall from good.
Ryan Artzberger portrayed Jekyll with great intensity with a parallel performance by Hyde's Kevin Cox. Watching the two personalities battle it out with swift dialogue while the total eclipse was crawling ever closer, made for an intense evening.
The spiral staircase played a significant role in the play itself ~ symbolizing perhaps the depths of evil and heights of goodness?
The lighting, music and choreography all set the tone for a dramatic mental journey giving Stevenson's classic a modern twist.
Bottom Line: IRT's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sets the standard for all Indianapolis-area theaters this season ~ an absolute must-see.
Images: Zach Rosing
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read her new column, Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.