All for one and none for two

WOW-EFFECT performs Jekyll & Hyde

We shall Hyde no more, for the whispers of a seasonal return are true– WOW-EFFECT Theater is back, this time joined by 10 new members and one classic story. Grab a chair and sit down for a strange case of dualism and doors, as WE take on a new project and upcoming play about Dr Jekyll and his split personality-pal.

Cows are either white cows with some black, or black cows with some white. With a zebra, you can’t tell if it’s a white horse with black stripes, or a black horse with white stripes. It’s all… blended up, you know? So what are you? A black horse or a white horse?

Since the first stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 book of the same name, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has been performed countless times over the world. In June, Nijmegen will add two to that tally as WE put up a version by Noah Smith.

Duality of human nature

The classic science fiction thriller is a story of dualisms: reason and emotion, moral and sin, white stripes and black ones. It introduces us to Dr Henry Jekyll, a respectable man and great scientist in 19th century Victorian London, whose boredom leads him to a tragic experiment, in which he– and himself– is the subject. His curiosity overcomes him and he creates a formula to unleash his inner bestial-self: Edward Hyde.

For a while, these two sides of the same man live parallel lives. Behind one mask, the sober but kind-hearted Jekyll as the responsible one; behind the other, the harsh, but oddly charming Hyde as the reckless risk-taker. That is until one day when the bodies start piling up.

Altering behavior with chemicals is more than science fiction. It’s real!

How WE’ll make it happen

With its many double meanings, character changes, and scene jumps, the play was never gonna be easy to take on. Then again, who said we want easy– WE are more than up to the challenge! That’s because not only are we working together to perform onstage, WE’re doing all the hard work behind it as well; from costumes and sound, to makeup and decor.

WE voted on the play just a couple of weeks back. Since then, the team has already had its first read through and even had time to try out some scenes. Some were drawn to Jekyll and Hyde by the link between fiction and reality. Tulya, who studied neuroscience, says that she likes the fact that altering behavior with chemicals is more than science fiction: “it’s real!”

And on stage this year…

Nationalism a la Donald Trump may be in vogue, but WE are proud of our international team. Among the group, at least seven languages are spoken: Turkish, Finnish, Hindi, German, Bulgarian, Spanish and Dutch. But WE always operate in English– despite sometimes stumbling on words. As Stefan, one of our new members, puts it:

Just when you learn to pronounce ‘constabulary’, there are hundreds more words to go.

That’s literally the case, as this German-speaker, with his impressive IT skills, counted the number of words with seven or more characters to 353 in one act.

Whether it’s counting or cooking, running or acting; all skill levels welcome. You don’t need to be an Audrey Hepburn or Robert Redford to join. And who knows, you might be a natural!

It started with a workshop

The team was brought together during three open workshops in September. Many showed up to give acting a try. The current team then grew naturally out of the small but diverse group of people who stayed after the workshop.

WE had our fun in the workshops, but the pre-production team was light-years ahead, and prepared as always. By this time they had already narrowed down the choices to five plays. We tried out bits and pieces from all of them, and then voted for our favourite. In WE, democracy prevails. The rest is history.

WE’ll see you in June

For the next 7 months, WE’ll be practicing walking in and out of doors, sitting on chairs, and pronouncing difficult words. The play will be ready just in time for our performance dates 15 & 16 June in De Lindenberg in Nijmegen. For a little glimpse at how the magic is made, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow the progress on our many social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. WE are excited to share this journey with you!

acting workshop

A snapshot from our 2018 workshop. More than 20 participated– 10 of whom stayed to join WE!

WOW-EFFECTers reading excerpts from potential plays. Jekyll & Hyde was elected in a group vote.

Jekyll & Hyde first try-out. Instead of auditions, casting is based on try-outs and actors’ preferences.

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This blog article is written by Alexandra Granberg and edited by Tulya Kavaklioglu.