OHS brings literary classic to the stage


Swayze Dornbusch, staff writer

Most would know The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a gothic novella written in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson, focusing on a character by the name of Mr. Utterson who discovers a great secret: that his friend Dr. Henry Jekyll is capable of turning into a cruel and vile man named Mr. Hyde. 

This book is one of the most defining and widely known pieces of English literature that has even made a major impact upon modern pop culture, leading to many different adaptations all centering around the idea of a split personality.

The stage adaptation, by Jeffery Hatcher, selected by OHS teacher and director John Davenport and student director Eli Nordstrom was very reminiscent of the original text, so much so that Pre-AP English II classes were invited to a matinee as a conclusion to their unit about the book. 

Senior Noah Amidon starred as Dr. Henry Jekyll, while Senior Walker Dabbs, Junior Z’Nyla Bean, Sophomore Ann Hunter Brigham, Senior Luke Newsom, and Senior Eli Carter all joined together to act the role of Mr. Hyde (among other side characters). This provided a very unique medium as the audience was able to see all the complexities to the character of Mr. Hyde. These actors would also take on dual roles, meaning the actors would act as Hyde when he came onto the stage and also act as a different character.

“It was really complex, there were about six of us who all shared the role of Mr. Hyde at some point in the show, and I believe that we each shared a different side of his personality,” Amidon said. “Despite this complexity, we tried to make sure that the audience always knew by a prop or a hat exactly which role we were playing when.”

Under Davenport’s lead, the actors and theater production crew were able to produce a quite marvelous show. However this adaptation had an interesting difference from the book: Mr. Hyde was in love with a hotel maid named Elizabeth Jelkes. Elizabeth was not included in Stevenson’s novella but contributed a huge part to OHS’s performance. Portrayed by Senior Harley Baker, the character Elizabeth falls in love with the evil Mr. Hyde who thought himself incapable of caring and loving emotions. Elizabeth continues to push Hyde towards accepting his feelings for her throughout the play. In the end, she is the one to discover Jekyll’s secret that he has always been Hyde, while in the original book, it is Utterson who discovers the secret. 

The three showings of this performance took place November 3rd-5 and was adored by students and teachers alike. 

Sophomore Allie Harris Flowers really enjoyed the performance, and her opportunity to learn about the novella.

“I loved the play and the way the play had multiple actors play Hyde, also the way I already understood everything that was going on so I could fully understand and enjoy the performance,” Flowers said. 

In addition OHS Theatre brought in two musicians: Gabriel Miña-Reyes (cellist) and Captain Alexander (pianist) to underscore the entire show. 

The stage was set with vibrant red, blue and purple lighting. Additionally, candle-lit lamps were used to give each scene an old-time-like and mysterious look. All these components brought together made for another great performance from OHS Theatre.