Jekyll and Hyde, again and again

  • May. 2nd, 2009 at 5:33 PM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (Default)
Today I think I came the closest to seeing Jekyll and Hyde done as I want it to be done. I’ve always been attracted to the story, and aside from the novel (which I always felt held only the kernel of the story, a story Stevenson wasn’t willing or able to pursue) I’ve seen the versions with Spencer Tracey, Mary Reilly (horrible film and novel—I’m sorry, Malkovich!Hyde is really hot), heard the Anthony Warlow version of the musical, and very much appreciated the Moffat Jekyll miniseries from a couple years ago, which at the time came the closest to the ambiguity I feel is most interesting about Jekyll’s search. The miniseries fails in a couple of points, none of which is the performance of James Nesbitt at the center, but otherwise pushed a lot of my buttons where this story is concerned.

Part of what I love about this story—which Stevenson didn’t really touch, as far as I recall—is the fact that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person. This is obvious, of course, but so many versions make it black and white, and there’s an underlying assumption that Hyde is Bad and Jekyll is Good. Whereas, even if we accept that binary as the underlying theme of the story, Jekyll cannot possibly be Good. Jekyll is Both, the self before division, and what’s always interested me most is his repression, his insistence (at least publicly) that Hyde is not part of him, and the dialogue between the two selves. (You can see why Jekyll worked for me in many ways.)
musings on the ACT production )
But I’m curious about your Jekyll and Hyde experiences, if you like the story. What are your favorites? If you are drawn to it, why? And what haven’t you seen done that you’d like to see? If you like it, or even if you don’t, why do you think we (as a culture) keep coming back to it time and again? And how is it there’s still something to discover in it, as above? (And maybe that last question is actually the answer to the one before it.)

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