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‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ to bend minds starting June 23

June 16, 2017

Creative dramatics and technical innovation combine in Crossroads Repertory Theatre's retelling of the literary classic, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," opening June 23.

Set in London during the Victorian era and before Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" dives into how the mind alters the world around us. The play is based on a novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1886. Jekyll creates a formula to test his theory that in every man dwells both forces of good and evil. His formula separates good and evil and turns Jekyll into a violent ruffian named Mr. Hyde.

"I want to see how people interpret the thrill of a guy who changes and turns into his worst nightmare," said play director Chris Berchild. "Someone seeing the play for the first time can expect a lot of atmosphere and great acting. This play is special because it takes that old story and reimagines it. The audience can go in not knowing the original story and have a fresh take on the play and how it grabs you today."

In an age of smartphones and short attention spans, it may be hard to keep audience members engaged in a production. After all, unlike Netflix, you can't pause a live production and continue watching when you want. Crossroads Rep aims to keep the audience so focused on the production that time will go by without them noticing.

"Along with my cast and crew, I want to create something that is engaging from top to bottom," said Berchild, who is artistic director of Crossroads Repertory Theatre and professor and theater department chair at Indiana State University. "My hope is that this production will erase the challenges of disengaged audience members. We want people to lose themselves in the production and just engage with these characters that are deeply flawed, crazy and energetic."

This production is at the heart of this year's theme -- the tricks the mind plays. The theme strikes this play quite literally because it's about the mind being fractured.

"The mind continuously messes with us every day. It makes us have these dreams that are totally divorced from reality," Berchild said. "There's a great part in the play where they talk about how the mind operates. There is a distinction between the brain and mind. You find an open door no one knows about and, once you've crossed its threshold, you will find not one mind but two. Two streams of the consciousness, one on the surface, the other subterranean."

Taking a 130-year-old novel and transitioning it to the live stage presents a few challenges. The adaptation was written by Jeffery Hatcher and calls for a small cast to play multiple roles. Leading up to opening night, Berchild and his team are embracing what it takes to bring the audience a great show.

"The show is a handful of actors, but they are playing 30 characters throughout the play," Berchild said. "The cast practices about nine hours a day, with some cast members participating in more than one play. We are using this mechanism that was written into the play to make it part of the thrill. You never know who Hyde is or where Hyde is. They have to understand each role separately. If an actor can sell Woman Number Three just as good as they sell Hyde or Jekyll, then the audience will believe every one of those characters. I've got this amazing design team that has engineered a way to create an understandable difference between each character."

And with theater, there is no way to bring a production to life without a team.

"A photographer can take his camera and create his artistic moments in isolation," Berchild said. "Theater forces you to collaborate constantly with a shifting group of people. It's a big payoff to be able to work with these people and to rely on their skill set as much as your own. My design team helps to create this world on stage, actors who are on the stage and staff of theater who creates a great guest experience. There are people who make sure that our lobby is cleaned, and that the ticket buying experience is great. As the old adage goes, the theater begins in the cloak room, but really it begins when you park your car. "

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" runs at 7:30 p.m. June 23 and 24, July 5, 8 and 13 and 4 p.m. June 25 in Indiana State's New Theater, 540 N. 7th St. Season tickets are available for $52 each, and single-production tickets are $15-20 for general admission.

For more information about this summer's season or to buy tickets, go to crossroadsrep.com or call the box office at 812-237-3333.

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Photos: https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/ISUphotoservices/Photo-Services-People-and-Grou/CRT-2017/i-8Jngd8d/0/b31a629d/X3/May%2023%2C%202017%20CRT%205515-X3.jpg -- "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" runs at 7:30 p.m. June 23 and 24, July 5, 8 and 13 and 4 p.m. June 25 in Indiana State's New Theater, 540 N. 7th St. Seated is Brett Olson as Dr. Henry Jekyll with Lew Hackleman, Julie Dixon, Luke Jaconis and Dave Harris, all as Mr. Edward Hyde and others.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/ISUphotoservices/Photo-Services-People-and-Grou/CRT-2017/i-V5xzCKf/0/481eea4b/X3/May%2023%2C%202017%20CRT%205573-X3.jpg -- "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" runs at 7:30 p.m. June 23 and 24, July 5, 8 and 13 and 4 p.m. June 25 in Indiana State's New Theater, 540 N. 7th St. Brett Olson, right, stars as Dr. Henry Jekyll with Lew Hackleman, Julie Dixon, Luke Jaconis and Dave Harris, all as Mr. Edward Hyde and others.

Writer and media contact: Antonio Turner, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, aturner41@sycamores.indstate.edu or 812-237-3773

Story Highlights

Creative dramatics and technical innovation combine in Crossroads Repertory Theatre's retelling of the literary classic, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." The show runs at 7:30 p.m. June 23 and 24, July 5, 8 and 13 and 4 p.m. June 25 in New Theater.

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