Beyond Good and Evil: Bringing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to the Stage

Used by permission of the Devils Lake Journal -- written by Andrew Benjamin and posted Oct. 17th, 2023


There have been many adaptations of the classic story story, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Movies, plays, and even video games have told their own interpretation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novella. Lake Region State College will put up its own stage production based on the adaptation by renowned screenwriter and playwright, Jeffrey Hatcher.

Directing the show is April Hubbard, LRSC’s Director of Theatre. She has had a long connection to the story. She wrote her master’s thesis on Jekyll and Hyde and Jack the Ripper. The main actor who played the titular character in the first stage adaptation was one of many suspected to be the serial killer, Jack the Ripper. He was apparently so good in the role that audiences wrote to the police that he must’ve been Jack.

“I love this adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher because he breaks up the character of Hyde to be played by multiple people,” she said.

Hubbard tried to put the production on last year, but it was canceled due to the lack of cast members. Going up before Halloween fits in perfectly with the month of spooky. “It’s a good time of year for something that is a little dramatic and scary since our fall production lands before Halloween,” she said.

One of the challenges of this production is that actors play multiple characters. Hubbard directed the players to make each character different. “I challenged the actors to come up with different characterizations, different voices, different mannerisms for each character,” she said “I’m relying on the actor’s voices and bodies to become those other people.”

While the Stevenson story is a more black-and-white interpretation of struggling with good and evil, Hubbard is tackling the play with more nuance. “Stevenson’s novel is interesting that it asks questions on the nature of good and evil… this adaptation of the novel attempts to say that this divorcing of good and evil is impossible,” she said. “That there’s darkness that is in Jekyll and there is lightness that is in Hyde.”