Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Dinsmore - a guest blog, or two

Extract from the Journal of Dr. Henry Jekyll...  As 1882 draws to a close, I find myself returned to my home in London.  The two years I spent abroad studying alternative medicines in the Amazon Basin have proven quite fruitful.  Some of the tinctures and extracts that were introduced to me by the natives are rather potent.  They provide me with a previously unimagined freedom of thought and conscience.  I can’t help but believe that I am on the cusp of something monumental.  After numerous successes, I felt it was time to move my tests from the field, as it were, to the real world where I may see more accurate results of my work in real-life environs.

No longer shall I be tortured by the darkness that hides in the deepest recesses of my mind, hinting and prodding and begging for release. I am a civilized man of the modern era, who need not be burdened by such desires.  Today marks the first substantive step of my journey toward peace of mind.  I have successfully separated my more base ambitions from my intellectual designs, thus allowing me a sense of serenity that heretofore was simply not possible.  For now, while I am able to detach these two… “streams of consciousness,” for lack of better terminology, I still seek a method to strip away the unwanted “stream” and discard it.

Naturally, my labors must be kept confidential until they can be more fully evaluated, especially from Sir Danvers Carew.  As Chief Surgeon, he holds considerable sway with the Board of Governors, and he already seeks to undermine me at every turn.  But I am hesitant to share this work even with my closest friends and colleagues.  While Dr. Lanyon is a lifelong friend, he has a tendency to strictly adhere to accepted methodologies, and my experiments are outside those standard channels.

Aside from all of my achievements to date, one thing gives me pause.  I feel as if my work is being observed by someone else; as if I am being watched.  Almost as if there was someone in the room with me, but I have shared my research with no one.  Perhaps this is simply a side effect of the treatment, yet it gnaws at me....

Today I rid myself of my inner beast!


 Extract from the Journal of George Dinsmore...

When I learned that Chapin Theater Company was performing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I admit I was not initially excited. Drink a potion, become a monster. It seems like everyone has taken a stab at the idea, including Sylvester and Tweety’s Hyde and Go Tweet.  Only Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is more overdone. But I read the script, which is a new adaption by Jeffrey Hatcher.  And I’m glad I did.  This isn’t the story of a good man and the evil monster inside of him.  It is a story about people in general, and the journey of self-discovery we all go through, although most people’s deep dark secrets are expressed with fewer physical manifestations

Before I even started learning lines, I started taking my own emotional inventory, looking back on my own experiences for specific emotions that Jekyll goes through: terror, self-loathing, hubris, etc.  Some were easy to draw on. Some were harder. And some I thought I didn’t possess -- at first.  But they were all there. It’s surprising what you can find inside if you’re honest with yourself.

As everyone knows, Jekyll and the Hydes’ personalities overlap as the show progresses. So, preparing for that wasn’t a case of two actors deciding something arbitrary like, “Hey, let’s both have a limp.” There are four Hydes (played by Jeff Sigley, David Reed, Nathan Dawson, and Kathy Sykes) who have their own distinct traits.  Jekyll starts as an individual, and gradually takes on some part of each Hyde. And if we don’t see each Hyde somewhere in Jekyll’s demeanor, then we have no reason to believe they are the same person.

It has been an incredible challenge for me because let’s face it, most -- not all, but most -- of my stage work has been comedy.  I had to remind myself not to “find the funny” as director Glenn Farr puts it whether intentionally or not. But harder, was to show Jekyll’s human journey, not as a candlestick, rock star, or New Jersey con man, but as a real person with whom audiences could sympathize and relate.

So did I succeed?  Well, I admit I’ve always been a little nervous before every performance, but this one is different.  Dr. Jekyll is way outside my comfort zone, and there is more of “me” in this character than I’m accustomed to sharing.  But I am surrounded by fantastic talent onstage and off, and I feel like I have grown leaps and bounds as an actor, so from a personal standpoint it is already a success.  I guess I’ll find out if other people agree when we open this Friday and audiences get their first look at the finished product.