By: Lauren Barksdale | News Editor
Many people are familiar with the iconic story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and USA theatre students are no different. The past two weekends, Thursday through Saturday, have boasted showings of the play version of this twisted tale. Showings began at 7:30 pm with a Saturday matinee showing at 2 p.m.
This play was based on the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson but was adapted by Jeffery Hatcher, who breathes new life in the play with roles and scenes that took the book a step further. For example, the character of Elizabeth is nowhere to be seen in the book, but in this adaptation, she plays an important foil character to Mr. Hyde. Because of the liberties taken, some people may have been taken aback by these new additions, but holistically it adds a lot to the play and its thematic message.
The role of Dr. Jekyll was portrayed by LaShavian Beltis and was his debut on stage as a part of USA Theatre, but instead of having him or one other actor play Mr. Hyde, his devious alter ego, the play took another turn from the book and had multiple people on stage that played other important characters also take on the role of Hyde at some point throughout. The director’s notes in the program explain that this was done to emphasize a theme in the book, which is everyone has their devilish, or Hyde, side of their manner and personality. Even though this was another deviation from the original story, it was executed really well on stage.
Overall the play was executed well and the story of Jekyll and Hyde was brought to new light on the stage at Laidlaw. USA Theatre is finishing its season this semester with a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which will be opening in April. Come and enjoy another fantastic night at the theatre!