During the past few days I saw two very different productions of Jekyll and Hyde.
I feel like the opportunities to see both productions so closely together created an unparalleled theatrical experience.
The first production was Dark Horse Theatre Company's musical production, currently playing at the Egyptian in Park City. This is not a review--but suffice it to say--I was intensely pleased. The music was beautiful, but I've always found the lyrics of the musical to be a shallow telling of such a thoughtprovoking story.
The telling was as rich as anyone can make it--but you cannot undo the travesty of such lines: "Look at me and tell me who I am, why I am, what I am. Call me a fool and it's true I am, I don't know who I am." I adore this song because the melody is so satisfying. But those words! I giggle every time I hear them. It's like a nursery rhyme!
The colors, the passion, the music, the talent--everything was incredible.
But it just touched the surface of the incredible philosophical question posed by this story.
Last night, I went to Provo and saw Mortal Fools production. The space was small. We sat on white folding chairs. The stage was small. One man played Dr. Jekyll and four other actors played both Mr. Hyde and his neighbors and colleagues. While Mr. Hyde performed wicked deeds with the abandon of a man who knew he was innately evil--his reason being unbridled passion--Dr. Jekyll was not perfect. He was simply reasoned. His wickedness stemmed from justification and shame. Mr. Hyde was unfettered by shame and so was able to love and be loved. Dr. Jekyll kept himself apart because of his pride and his so-called righteousness. His pompous separation from his wicked half--declaring that through will alone he could rid himself of all his passions was so fraught with pride and self-delusion that it struck me to the core. This production articulated that there are not two halves to us-- Good and Evil--but rather one tragically acceptable form of justifiable evil and the other obvious evil--collectively condemned by ourselves and society.
This life is a contradiction. It is wickedness and naivete to deny bits and pieces of our humanity. While our passions must be controlled, it is because of our passions that our life has meaning. We grow in our passions and learn to find the joy that comes from true balance and wholeness.
The other night, I was utterly overcome with heartbreak. I thought very seriously about ending my life. It was a situational depression that overcame me and shook me. Maintaining the thought, "This too shall pass"--a phrase that has saved me a number of times--I crawled into bed and slept away my misery.
As days passed, I found myself enthralled with every little nuance of life. I giggled at the ducks pecking their way across my patio. I laughed at the chubby little neighbor girl in her sparkly Hello Kitty shirt and black tutu chasing after her other friends. I cracked up at the little kids running through the laundry mat.
There are bad days and there are good days. Both illuminate the other and make life rich. And we have our bad parts and our great parts. All facets of ourselves reflect in us and make us complicated and amazing individuals.
A Victorian, puritanical and naive notion is that in order to become a good person, we must ultimately destroy one half of ourselves. Both productions showed that this line of thinking will inevitably destroy the whole and is as wicked a notion as any other.