Corey Simpson became the executive artistic director of Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre Company this past summer. Since then he’s had to wear many hats. The group is producing their first play of the season, ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.
It tells the story of Dr. Jekyll, a kind and caring man, who believes everyone has two sides — good and evil. He develops a potion that will turn him into his evil alter ego, Mr. Hyde.
The roles of both Hyde and Jekyll are usually played by one person, but in this version, it’s four total. One Jekyll, three Hydes.
“I think that the character is wondering the same thing,” said Franz Alderfer, when asked how he plays only half of a person. He plays Jekyll. “He’s trying to figure that out, the whole play. Who am I?”
Alderfer’s character is a philanthropist who is trying to explain why this transformation keeps happening with some sort of scientific rationalization, but his evil side is very powerful. All of that happens in a dark setting, with a moody soundtrack.
Gerald DeLisser plays one of three different Hyde’s that appear during the play. Each with their own takes and spin on the character. It introduces new faces, and deepens the confusion about what good and evil really are.
“Hyde has kind of a deformity that you can’t tell what it is,” said DeLisser. “But (it’s) something that’s ‘unsettling’.”
The changes Jekyll and Hyde go through during the play help talk about serious issues we face, said director Corey Simpson.
“The piece deals with the subconscious versus the conscious,” said Simpson. “It considers how everybody has aspects of both good and evil within them...how we choose to deal with those elements of ourselves.”
And that’s what Simpson hopes the cast of six will be doing when the show opens next week.
Previews begin Thursday.