Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde opens at Actors Co-op

Sep 27, 2013
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Actors Co-op continues its 22nd Season on Friday, October 11 with Robert Louis Stevenson's DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.  The production is directed by Mary Jo Duprey and features Stephen Van Dorn and Mark Bramhall.  

Based on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novella "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Jeffrey Hatcher's adaptation takes us from Victorian drawing rooms to the grim alleyways of London as it examines the inner struggles of our lives and the ties that bind them dangerously close.  What is the nature of the beast that lives in all of us?

Director Mary Jo Duprey's vision for DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE is framed by the character's internal conflict rather than a horror story.  "I want to return to the philosophical questions in the original source material of Stevenson's novella.  Over the years, the story has become a part of the pop culture as a bogey man story.  It's really much more complicated.   Rather than lots of effects, I want to address the human story.    It's more interesting to ask, " 'Is it possible to deny your darkness and be fully human?' "

Ms. Duprey is a faculty member at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where she also received her MFA in Directing.  She most recently directed NORTH OF SUNSET, WEST OF VINE, a new musical by renowned recording artist Raya Yarbrough at The Greenway.  Her production of WHAT MAY FALL by Peter Gil-Sheridan garnered the LA Weekly's "Pick of the Week" for Theater of Note.  Her numerous productions for UCLA include Charles Mee's BIG LOVE, WHO IS SELMA TELLER? and an all female version of LYSISTRATA.   Ms. Duprey is a cum laude graduate of Vassar College.

While DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE is set in Victorian England, Ms. DuPrey's goal was to take the story out of the literal realm.  "I want to pull it into expressionism - the school of theatre in which the playing space is a representation of the mind rather than an external reality.  So the mind is on the stage rather than a fourth wall viewing from the outside."

The script includes very specific details in terms of design elements utilized in the original production, providing a challenge for a 99-seat theatre.  Ms. Duprey has taken on that challenge in Actors Co-op's production.  "I'm a big fan of Peter Brook and the idea of stripping down what's really important.  The debut production was in a much bigger theatre.  We don't have that.  So we revisited the design elements.  I wanted to get to the heart of the story, free it from its past and push harder on the text."

Mr. Hatcher's adaptation uses just six actors.  Four of the actors play a version of Hyde at some point during the story and some of the actors portray as many as seven different characters during the show.  "It really takes an ensemble-based rehearsal period to pull that off.   To try to get the piece to move with fluidity, as one moving organism and the actors working as a unit can be challenging.  But the actors in this production are generous with each other.  It's wonderful to watch them.  They have to portray a huge world."

Stephen Van Dorn portrays Dr. Jekyll.  A member of Actors Co-op since 1998, Mr. Van Dorn received an LA Weekly nomination for his portrayal of Lachie MacLachlan in THE HASTY HEART.  He also performed the chilling show-stopper "Molasses t' Rum" as Edward Rutledge in the multiple-LA Weekly nominated production of 1776.  He recently appeared in the Los Angeles premiere of SILENCE! THE MUSICAL directed by Tony-winner Christopher Gatelli and has two films due for release shortly.

Veteran actor Mark Bramhall joins Actors Co-op's production.  An original company member of the American Conservatory Theatre for its first five seasons, Mr. Bramhall was recently nominated for an Ovation award for his work in WALKING THE TIGHTROPE at 24th Street Theatre.  He has performed off-Broadway, regionally and on dozens of L.A. stages including 34 productions with A Noise Within.  He attended LAMDA as a Fulbright Scholar and has received numerous accolades for his acting work including the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, the Ovation Award the LA Weekly Award and many others.

Other members of the ensemble include Greyson Chadwick, Deborah Marlowe, Paul Turbiak and Isaac Wade.

The creative team for DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE includes Set Designer Ellen Lenbergs, Costume Designer Vicki Conrad, Lighting Designer Pablo Santiago, Sound Designer Austin Quan, Property Designer Nicholas Acciani, Dialect Coach Coco Kleppinger, Wig/Hair Design Krys Fehervari and Stage Manager Samantha Else.   Rhonda Kohl produces for Actors Co-op.  

Schedule Opening night of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE is Friday, October 11, 2013. Regular performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm.  Additional Saturday matinees are scheduled for OCTOBER 19 and November 16 at 2:30 pm.  DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE closes Sunday, November 17, 2013.

Tickets Regular admission $30, Seniors $25, Students $20. Group rates available (minimum of 6 people). For reservations call (323) 462-8460 ext. 300 or reserve online at www.ActorsCo-op.org