“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” to run March 2-5

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Courtesy of Corey Saltaformaggio

Actors DeJuan James and Leigh Moore have a socially-distanced rehearsal to prepare for the theatre department’s upcoming production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on March 2-5.

Next month the theatre department will bring to life a century-old tale with a modern twist. They will perform “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” March 2-5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Vonnie Borden Theatre. 

Chad Winters, instructor of theatre, elaborated on the plot of this production. 

“The story is adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, allowing our community to experience this ageless story in a new and fresh way. Glyn Maxwell has adapted the story for the stage with some fun twists. Unlike the novella, this stage adaptation has a strong female presence. In the original story Lady Gabrielle Utterson is Gabriel John Utterson, a close loyal friend of Jekyll,” Winters described. 

DeJuan James, a senior and elementary education major, was cast as Jekyll. He agreed with Winters on the fun nature of the show. 

“I think that this new tale puts a fresh spin on the classic tale, and I believe audiences will really enjoy the direction that this story will take them. There’s atmosphere, there’s drama, there’s humor, a bit of something for everyone,” James said.

Hayden Kimball, the psychology graduate student cast as Hyde, echoed a similar sentiment on the refurbished storyline. 

“It’s a new spin on a timeless classic. Everyone is familiar with the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There should be an aura of familiarity among the characters, while also adding a whole unique experience for the viewer,” Kimball said. 

Although COVID-19 precautions halted the start of rehearsals early on, James said it did not stop the six-member cast from proceeding with the show. 

“Early in the process, some of our cast and management team had to quarantine, so it took some time for us to all to be together in the same room, but once we got there, we hit the ground running,” James explained. 

Dejuan James wears a face shield during a rehearsal for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in order to abide by face-covering and social-distancing guidelines. (Courtesy of Corey Saltaformaggio)

Kimball added that patience has been of the essence while rehearsing with protective COVID-19 gear.

“We have to wear face shields at rehearsal, which makes things that are normally taken for granted very difficult. Even with the shields, our voices are still muffled, and so hearing cue lines is quite challenging, especially when offstage waiting for a cue. However, everyone has been so patient, and we’ve gotten used to it to the point where that isn’t a problem anymore,” Kimball said. 

Kimball said receiving the role of Mr. Hyde fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams and was a great way to finish his Southeastern career. 

“This is my last semester as a student here at SELU, and I’m such a big fan of the story, I just had to audition. When I found out I got the part of Mr. Hyde, it was a dream come true because he was always on my bucket list of roles I wanted to play. Plus, I get to work with some amazing individuals. It’s a great way to cap off my six-year run as a student here,” Kimball said. 

James added that he looks forward to working with his castmates regularly. 

“My favorite aspect of this show, as with other shows I’ve done, is getting to work with such an amazing cast. Seeing them every day makes it easier to want to give 200% every time,” James said. 

Kimball left a message of gratitude for the production. 

“I’m so happy to be a part of this. Mr. Hyde is a dream character for me, and I’m blessed to be on this journey with some great castmates, crew and an awesome director. Come see the show March 2-5. You won’t regret it,” Kimball said.