Setting: Empty stage other than the two actors in their chairs.
The Two Dr. Jekylls
Dr. Jekylls: Two actors, (presumably male and of the same apparent age). They explicitly do NOT represent the two sides of Dr. Jekyll, i.e. good and evil. They are Dr. Jekyll’s thoughts. Both refer to each other as though they were one person, so each might use “I” rather than “you” in referring to something the other actor has said.
Henry (Dr. Jekyll’s formal name)
Harry (the name Jekyll uses when he writes a letter a note or a letter.
Mr. Hyde: One actor at a time. Either Henry or Harry may play Hyde. Each will transform from Jekyll to Hyde at least once
(Sir/General Danvers) Carew: An elegant old man whom Hyde murders in cold blood in a burst of violent hatred. (In the Stevenson story, Carew is a complete stranger to Hyde; in films, heis brought in as the father of Jekyll’s fiancée.
The Two Faces of Eve: (Does not exist in Stevenson story; Names vary in films)
Aimée: Carew’s daughter. Lovely. Innocent in the deepest sense, but not either naive or inexperienced. Fierce underneath that sometimes bursts to the surface. But her fundamental belief is that, sure both good and evil exist, but that good will always win out; Jekyll/Hyde is her undoing.
Desirae (Desi): The bad girl. A bar girl/prostitute. “Heart of gold,” decent woman, despite her lowly status. To her, innocence is hypocrisy. Lust is good. Life sucks, but enjoy it while you can. Jekyll/Hyde is both proof of her convictions and her undoing, because she adores Hyde, shares both Jekyll and Hyde’s lust, their desire to be free,
Jekyll’s friends — (These three may be combined into a single character. If so, Dr. Lanyon is most crucial)
(Gabriel John) Utterson, LLD, (Male or female) Dr. Jekyll’s friend and attorney. The balance point of the fulcrum. He knows Dr. Jekyll well. They are best friends, but Dr. Jekyll has always frightened Utterson at times. Jekyll has entrusted Utterson with a crucial document. Ultimately it is he who must stop Jekyll/Hyde by killing him.
Dr. Lanyon: (Male or femaile) A respectable doctor who finds Dr. Jekyll’s approach to science, particularly in dealing with manipulating morality, frightening and dangerous. (He is sometimes portrayed as primarily friendly toward Dr. Jekyll, but in the original and some later versions, he harbors deep worries about Dr. Jekyll personally as well as professionally.
Mr. (or Ms.) Enfield: Eyewitness account of Hyde stomping child
Scene I: . Harry and Henry sit on two chairs, back to back, in the center of the stage. They are tied together by a rope.
It is not that one is Jekyll and the other Hyde. Not that one is good and the other evil. Rather than debating a point with each other, they are discussing it. Could it really be possible and, if it were, would it be right or wrong, morally, ethically, perhaps spiritually, to separate, — physically, literally — the “good” from the “bad” in a person?, however we define good and bad?
Harry is questioning how this could possibly work out well. He (I am presuming a males playing the Jekylls’ for the time being) can’t see how this would be of any use. He wasn’t getting rid of the evil (again, however defined), just putting it off into this other person, who was, after all, himself. So what’s the gain?
But Henry is trying to answer Harry, clearly stumbling but not giving up.
Harry is getting annoyed at Harry’s unwillingness to concede that it’s a harebrained idea. On the other hand, it occurs to Harry that it might be scientifically possible. This idea excites him. He participated in drug tests that really seem to be splitting the patient into two people, one seemingly very good and decent and the other nasty and prone to repugnant behavior. This is generally considered a serious negative side effect, but, perhaps, by an alternation of drugs, he could control the effect.
Henry seizes on Harry’s excitement and throws into the hopper that he really wouldn’t mind letting go loose once in a while, he feels all tight inside, repressed, held back by what he vaguely refers to as “society.” He wouldn’t mind letting it all go…wherever that lead to.
Now it’s Harry whose horrified. In that case it’s not about science at all, it’s about letting lust (could be sexual, could be power, could be violence; could feel free) flow without conscience, without guilt about the satisfaction of lust.
And Harry of course recognizes that’s it’s the cleverest “escape plan” ever devised. If the evil character commits anything that might be a crime, he can simply escape back to the first. The evil Jekyll can do anything he wants and the goodly Jekyll will not have to pay.
Henry: And we agree on: We cannot keep all this pent up in ourselves forever.
Harry: I don’t have the two drugs yet, but I think I have two on a trial basis that I think I will try on myself.
Henry: Yes. Ok. When?
Scene 2: Jekyll’s lab. Both Jekylls and Dr. Lanyon. Lanyon is horrified at how far Jekyll seems willing to go. He afraid of what Jekyll seems to be heading for. The Jekyll’s are fed up with society’s repression of the human spirit. This varies from high-minded indignity of the uptightness, rigidity, narrow alternatives, etc. of society to expressions of deep lust. Jekyll is maddened with desire for Aimée and infuriated by her tantalizing him but refusal to ________ (this is tricky; how “Victorian” is she to be???)
Jekyll lusts for Carew’s daughter but knows he must renounce all lust if he is to have her. This is precisely what Jekyll is struggling with in wanting to try this experiment on himself. Everything Jekyll says drives Carew crazy. He is fiercely protective of his daughter. The daughter, Aimée, is a devil of an angel. Strong willed, prone to passionate statements and utter dismissals of apparently unassailable facts. She sees nothing wrong with Jekyll’s experiments: Someone must forge ahead unfettered by convention. She says this despite being entirely conventional herself.
Jekyll becomes progressively agitated. He does not feel he is being understood.
Henry (who has either been absent or has not spoken much yet) now jumps in and tries to be ultra-logical. Is he crazier than Harry? Yes, probably. Everything he says is absolutely logical and yet adds up to letting evil loose in the name of , but he nevertheless makes sense, makes it all sound reasonable, a way to somehow do something so important that it does not matter what else it lets loose. Much like Einstein and Bohr dissecting the atom.
Carew comes back from the phone.
The Innocent Girl (not in the Stevenson story; called Millicent in one movie version, Muriel in another) appears. She may say nothing. She may prattle. She may be a very strange young woman who says strange things.
Scene 3: The Lab: The transformation: The two actors split. One is mostly Hyde the other mostly Jekyll, but there are odd reversals of this pattern.
Scene 4: Hyde on the loose. The other Jekyll watches. In horror? Not necessarily as Hyde does something terrible — we do not know what it is; He is lust incarnate. We do not know what he lusts for: power, vindication, sex, wealth, true love a la Faust, It must be all of these. Respect, too. He wants it all, is rapacious. We may see it all in a simple gesture.
Scene 5: The fiancé meets her other half: the girl of the night. The two must mesh and diverge like dancers in a tango. The licentious, the unfettered and the pure, innocent, virginal must flip back and forth.
Scene 6: Utterson and Carew on the madman on the loose in London. who stomped across the young girl. How could he be connected with Jekyll. Uh oh, maybe he’s serious about that crazy theory of his. Is this somehow the result of some experiment of Jekyll’s?
Scene 7: Jekyll/Hyde — both actors — with the Barmaid (both actresses). Lust and innocence intertwine, conflict, draw apart, come together. All four go off together.
Scene 8: Hyde/Jekyll collides with Carew immediately upon leaving the scene above.
Envisioning 2: Utterson
Note: Lines are intended as sketches, not precisely what the characters will say.
House black. A single light comes up, focused on the door immediately downstage center. As little light as possible shines on the array of bottles and tubes. Utterson enters and stands on the lip of the stage in front of the OUTSIDE DOOR of the LABORATORY. He speaks directly to the audience. Actors are in current dress. The time is now, not the 1900’s.
UTTERSON: Call me Utterson. By profession, I’m a lawyer. I do things properly. I’m a friend of Dr. Henry Jekyll. I guess you could say that he’s my client in as much as he’s entrusted me to keep a copy of what amounts to his last will and testament. [Pulls document from his vest pocket.] Oh, don’t be alarmed, this is just a copy. The will’s put away properly in my safe.
But Dr. Jekyll’s will troubles me greatly. He says that he wants everything he owns to be transferred to a certain Mr. Hyde upon his death.
Now here you have the advantage over me. You know precisely who Mr. Hyde is. You know that the high-minded, respected doctor and scientist Dr. Jekyll and the lascivious and murderous cur called Mr. Hyde are one and the same. You’ve heard the story of how Dr. Jekyll had an idea and how It turned out to be very bad idea indeed. He thought it would be perfect if he could split himself in two. (Confidentially) A lot of versions of the story give Dr. Jekyll an easy out: it was all a big mistake, a well-intentioned experimental drug that went haywire. How else could a custom-made hero like Spencer Tracey play the role?
But perhaps it wasn’t a mistake at all. Maybe Dr. Jekyll knew exactly what he was doing all along.
In any case, I know nothing of this. To me, Mr. Hyde is simply someone I’ve never met, but also someone I’ve never heard by friend Harry — the man you know as Dr. Henry Jekyll — so much as mention Mr. Hyde. Why should he suddenly be the beneficiary of Harry’s not inconsiderable wealth?
What’s even more troubling is that he says that this Mr. Hyde is to get everything if Dr. Jekyll should simply not be heard from for three weeks. That’s insane! Who ever heard of giving everything you own over to some unknown person if you should happen to be gone for a few days?
I’m very concerned that this Mr. Hyde might have some power over Harry. Could Harry have done something horrible and this Mr. Hyde is deviously blackmailing him? Seems awfully unlikely. Harry’s always been a bit odd, all carried away with some very strange ideas about science. Our mutual friend, Dr. Lanyon, is seriously worried that Harry’s gone off the deep end. Of course, he’s always been a bit leery of Harry. Thought he might not be all there. I’m going to have to have a long talk with Dr. Lanyon soon about just what might be going on with Dr. Jekyll. You’ll see. But I mustn’t get too far ahead of our story.
More possible details Utterson could add:
(Confidential again) You see, we all know Dr. Jekyll’s right about one thing: we’ve all got good and evil in us. All of us. You, too. We keep it nicely bottled up most of the time, but what if that potion in your hand could let the evil loose without making the good person in you feel the slightest guilt? And could let you get away with it, too? Take a sip. Not so sure, eh. Maybe we actors aren’t as nice as we look. Maybe we have some evil up our sleeves.
Oh, yes, I was telling you about what’s in my safe. A knife, a vial of poison, an admission of horrible guilt. Here’s (pulls out a letter from his coat pocket) a letter from a young lady. She shouldn’t have written it…certainly wouldn’t have if she knew I’d be the one reading it over and over and over in the darkest hours of night…but I digress. Dr. Jekyll’s note wasn’t worth reading over and over in the dark of night, but I certainly made me wonder. He says that if he disappears, a certain Mr. Hyde, whom none of us has ever seen or known, is to inherit everything Dr. Jekyll owns.
(Confidential) Now you know why this is. But I don’t. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would a celebrated doctor bequeath everything to an unknown man, clearly no relative of his? Dr. Jekyll as the most innocent and beautiful of sweethearts, why wouldn’t he leave everything to her?
And he says something very strange: If he should disappear for more than three weeks, Mr. Hyde should have everything he owns. What power this Mr. Hyde must have over Dr. Jekyll!
Oh, I hear you snickering. You know Jekyll and Hyde are the same person. But you see, I don’t. But I aim to find out! I know, curiosity can be a very dangerous thing.
Oh, and there’s one more thing I think you should know: You don’t know anything. You think you do, but you don’t. You think that Dr. Jekyll’s going to create a serum that’ll turn him into Hyde and that, sooner or later, the gig will be up and Jekyll and Hyde together will meet their doom.
You see, we’re telling the story we feel like telling. No code of ethics here: we’re actors and the director says we can tell any story we like. And that’s exactly what we intend to do.
So let’s begin: We’re half-way through the story now, plunging in right in the middle. Mr. Enfield has just seen something extraordinary happen right in front of this very door, and he’s rushing to tell me.
Enter Enfield: Utterson, Utterson, what are you doing here?
Utterson: Waiting for you to tell me what happened at this very door, old chap. This is where our story begins.
Enfield: (he is completely in the scene; not playing to the house) What on earth are you talking about?
Utterson: The story. You need to tell me the story.
Enfield: What story?? How do you know that something incredible happened here?
Utterson: Never mind, just go ahead and tell me.
Enfield: (still baffled, but too bursting with the story to contain himself). Oh…what?…oh…all right. Enfield proceeds to tell the story of Hyde stomping on the young girl.
Once Enfield finishes, Utterson again speaks to the audience. Well, you see, we actors drew straws for who could talk to you and I won. [laughs strangely] I should say that I got the longest straw, because,with all that’s going to happen to me, I’m not sure I didn’t get the short end of the stick in getting the long end of the straw, but we shall see.
But we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. You see what you’ve just seen hasn’t happened yet. The evil Mr. Hyde doesn’t even exist yet. We’ve given you a little glimpse, just a tiny snapshot, of what a wretched creature is going to emerge from the kindly Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory. Because now we’d like you to meet Dr. Jekyll when he was like you and me: both good and evil locked up inside the same person. Well, in our case, inside two people. Why not? Don’t be confused, both this people are the high-minded scientist and doctor, Dr. Jekyll. It’s about time you met him.
[Lights up on full stage — Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory a world of test tubes and gurgling liquids] The two Dr. Jekyll’s sit, back to back, tied in chairs. Harry and Henry from first draft.
Utterson re-enters. [ponders] Dr. Jekyll thinks he wants to split good from evil in a person. Why? Does he envision, from the beginning, becoming Mr. Hyde? Does he want, from the very start to be Hyde? And what, of course, does “being Mr. Hyde” mean?
[To audience] We all know what we mean, of course. We mean letting the reins go where the horses want to go. I can’t imagine there’s one among us all here tonight who hasn’t wished we could just let it all go free, all of it, and the “Devil take the hindmost” ˆ as the saying goes. [Utterson goes on but is never explicit about the nature of these elicit desires.]
But, again, I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ve heard a little about Mr. Hyde’s apparent cruel streak, but it’s all second hard, inconceivable, perhaps in the man with radical ideas, but quite proper, quite a decent match for a virginal young lady.
Enter the Virginal Young Lady. She greets Utterson rather formally. Kiss on the cheek, perhaps, but as Hyde exits right, she leers at him in contempt.
Virginal Young Lady: A lot he knows. He thinks a virgin is anyone who won’t go to bed with him. She proceeds to complain bitterly to the audience of what it’s like to thought to be virtuous. Her FATHER (Sir Carew) enters and treats her like a pre-pubescent. Utterson enters. He has that “old friend of the family look.” As soon as SIR CAREW leaves,she begins torturing him by being sexually seductive but rejecting even the slightest advance by him as appalling to her innocence. Yet she makes remarks that insinuate a sensuality beyond any acceptable standards. She leaves, leaving Utterson completely bewildered. He turns the audience in dismay: And Dr. Jekyll thinks she’s the sweetest thing on earth. Go figure. And he’s the one engaged to her, he’s the one who thinks he’s gotta be the straitest arrow in the quill if he’s ever going to get to bed with her, engagement or no engagement.
But you already know that Jekyll is nothing like the straightest arrow, he’s got some pretty strange ideas. But me, I don’t know nothin’. But I aim to find out what the hell’s going on with Jekyll leaving everything to Hyde. So I decided to talk to a guy who was his mentor when Jekyll was just an intern. Having coffee with him in a few minutes. Ah, here he comes.
[as in book, Utterson starts to hear from Dr. Ganyon that Jekyll, good ol’ Dr. Jekyll scared the pants of him. Utterson stops him] “Show everybody what happened.”
Dr. GANYON stands and has discussion, exactly as in book, with the two Dr. Jekyll’s about his fears of what Jekyll seems to be toying with in his “transcendental pharmaceutical” lab.