Tuesday night, the Monroe County Civic Theater’s production of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” premiered at The Cinemat, 123 S. Walnut St. Although the rain might have prevented more people from coming out to see the play, it went on without a hitch, and was a wonderfully produced tale of what happens when the dual personalities of a person fight for power.
It took director Russell McGee and his cast three weeks to get the production together and ready to present to the public. In the tiny screening room of the Cinemat, chairs were lined in rows and the stage was set with antique furniture, including an old wooden table, oil lamp, liquor decanter and a few other pieces.
The stage setting gave the play a modern feel, but at the same time, the elaborate costumes of the actors took the audience back to the time of Victorian England. The actors were decked out in bowler hats, pin stripe pants, lavish lace dresses, dress suits and antique jewelry.
Perhaps the most important costume element was the masks. At the start of production, each actor was asked to define his or her character in one word. That definition was then put to use in the creation of each character’s mask and inner persona. The masks represented the underlying quality of each character and stressed a major theme of the play: the duality of man, and the fight between good and evil.
The central fight of good and evil took place between Dr. Jekyll, played by IU alumnus Ryan Powell, and his notorious alter-ego Mr. Hyde,excellently portrayed by IU senior Karynne Korbacher. Korbacher wore a darkened mask with tinges of red to signify the rage of Jekyll’s alter ego, and lurked around the stage, taunting Jekyll into darkness.
McGee said the repression of desire is one of the major themes he hopes the audience takes away from the performance.
“I think we do deny ourselves a lot of what we, as humans, actually desire,” McGee said.
The Monroe Country Civic Theater’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” will be 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and Nov. 5 and 6 at the Cinemat. Tickets are $8. The show will also be at the Merry Mac Players in Martinsville, Ind., at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Nov 2 and 3. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
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