Corbin H. Crable
If there’s one thing that can be said about the Theater Department at Gardner
Edgerton High School, it’s that they never do anything without giving 100 percent of their energy and resources. That much is evident in the school’s latest production, “Jekyll and Hyde,” which hit the stage last week for a run of three performances.
“Jekyll and Hyde,” based off the Broadway musical and author Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novel, tells the story of physician Dr. Henry Jekyll, who, after inventing a formula called HJ7, grapples with its horrific side effects, which transform Jekyll into a monstrous version of himself. After a string of murders, committed by the Hyde persona, Jekyll eventually must do battle with the monster within him in an effort to regain his life with Emma, his love interest throughout the play.
GEHS students, under the guidance of second-year instructor Sarah Lamar, brought the production to life with their usual dedication and flair. In the same pageantry characteristic of last year’s production of “Grease,” “Jekyll and Hyde” is brought to life with plenty of detail, from the play’s costumes to recreating the streets of late 19th century England.
But the real treat in watching this production comes in the acting itself.
Standouts among the cast include Ethan Platt, who, as the title character (or characters, as it were) injected plenty of emotional depth into Dr. Jekyll and plenty of genuine fright into Hyde. It’s a challenging role, and surely demands a great deal of emotional range. Platt made the transformation of Jekyll into Hyde and back again look flawless. As an audience member, you felt emotionally exhausted as he helplessly went through the change time and again, a man at war with himself. Platt is to be commended for not only capturing the essence of both characters, but at the end of it all, making you truly feel pity for his character.
Equally impressive was the performance by Tressa Lee as Emma, Jekyll’s love interest. Lee struck the perfect chord in portraying Emma as Jekyll’s emotional foundation amid her confusion about his actions. She is both steadfast in her love for him and concerned for his well-being, although she doesn’t know the depth of his struggle. The supporting cast, too, from Shelby Britton (Lucy) down to the individual demons that haunt Jekyll, is a joy to see.
Kudos to the GEHS Theater Department and all involved in bringing “Jekyll and Hyde” to life. Between the drama of the music, the pageantry of the setting and costumes, and the high-running emotions from the entire cast, this production ranks among the school’s finest. Congratulations to Sarah Lamar and her students for an intense, strong finish to the semester.