The first one was a brilliant and broad rainbow imprinted on the sky. A light drizzle was falling upon the earth with a mellow sunshine illuminating this entire scene.
The other one, however, was a spectrum of emotions.
‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ a theatrical adaptation of R.L. Stevenson’s bestselling novel of the same name, was presented at the Syndicate Bank Golden Jubilee Hall, by Aaina, a theatre group in Manipal. Although the 100 odd people that attended this event never left the venue, all of them were transported to England in the 1st half of the 20th century, the time of gentlemanly behavior, hats, walking sticks and waistcoats.
Synopsis: Dr. Jekyll (Advait Kottary) is a socially respected man, secretly researching the duality of human nature. He theorizes that all humans have both good and bad qualities in them and their behavior in daily life is influenced by both. He develops a potion that would separate his bad side from his good one and upon drinking it he his converted into Mr. Hyde, his suppressed bad side, his shadow image or his alter ego.
Twenty year old Helen Danvers(Sakshi) , the daughter of Mr. Danvers, a strict and uptight old man, is Jekyll’s fiancé. Her father disapproves of this relationship owing to the large difference in their ages and Jekyll’s impractical scientific interests.
After an incident in which Jekyll, after transforming into Hyde in his laboratory, orders both the Danvers and Dr. Lanyon, an old friend, out of his house, Helen’s father forbids her from keeping any contact with Jekyll. However when his daughter secretly disobeys him, he warns Jekyll from seeing his daughter, threatening him with dire consequences if he failed to comply. Jekyll, unable to control his anger, drinks the potion and turns into Hyde, who then obtains a cold revenge by brutally murdering Danvers.
The plot reaches it’s maximum thickness, when Jekyll asks Helen to run away with him, but she becomes adamant on finding her father’s killer and seeing him hanged.
The scene in which Hyde follows Danvers through the Hall and finally murders him on stage, thrashing his dead body with a stick, filled each viewer’s brain with much more blood than before. The audience was spellbound, with goose bumps erupting on their skins. They did express this adrenaline rush in the prolonged applause that followed the scene.
Although all actors brilliantly displayed a great breadth of emotions, some stood out, owing to the script and of course, their own acting.
1.) Advait : His portrayal of the transformations into Hyde, had the entire crowd on the edge of their seats, with his voice changing into a snarl and his body twitching on the floor. Theatre has it’s quota of restrictions that it imposes on actors, but then also gives to them certain privileges to enthrall the audience. Advait made full use of most of them, both as his enactment of Jekyll and more importantly Hyde. While Jekyll’s pleasing personality attracted the crowd, Hyde’s voice and anger seeped into their minds, hypnotizing them for those brief moments.
2.) Anubha : As Jekyll’s cook Bridget, this loud and blunt portrayal had the audience in splits. With the help of her Irish accent, her performance managed to subdue the otherwise serious theme of the play .
Apart from the acting, the sets played an integral part in fooling the audience into believing they were in another time, with a piano and a grandfather clock on stage, amongst other things. Plus the sounds, which were fixed very accurately according to the scenes’ mood, helped immensely in the sprouting of emotions in the viewer’s consciousness.