Last Saturday Marie and I had a great time watching Repertory Philippines musical Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at the Greenbelt Theatre with our friends the Barkers.
Picture shows from left: Trisha Amper Jimenez (who gave us our tickets and played Emma’s understudy and a part of ensemble), Menchu Lauchenco Yulo (the director), Paul and Aleta Barker, Mayen Bustamente Cadd ( as Lady Beaconsfield) and her husband and Steve Cadd (as Sir Danvers Carew). Trisha and the Cadds are members of Victory. Thanks Trisha we really enjoyed ourselves.
If any of you are looking for great play to watch, here’s one I highly recommend. But don’t bring the kids, the play’s brothel scenes was suggestively intense.
Apart from great acting and singing the spiritual undertones of the play could not go unnoticed. That’s why I’m using it as my day off meditation this week.
It was Fr. Sullivan, my English literature teacher in high school who insisted on reading the classics. He tried hard to convince us that Beowulf was exciting and worth the read. Maybe for children in England during the Middle Ages but not a fifteen year old in the seventies in the Philippines.
I must admit there were a few that were interesting, Robert Herrick’s “To the Virgins’” and some of Alfred Tennyson’s works. And of course Robert Louis Stevenson’s Victorian classic: “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The idea of a man struggling between two personalities with hints of Sherlock Holmes had enough excitement even in the seventies. I was never the literary kind. But I still thank Fr. Sullivan for the exposure.
Dr. Jekyll’s name was not unfamiliar. Back in the sixties I have watched a variety of renditions of the story from ”The Adventures of Mighty Mouse” and other cartoon adaptations. I didn’t have the gall to tell the old priest that their versions were more entertaining than the original. But what did I know, I was a kid.
Watching the play as a 54 year old last Saturday, and having a better understanding of the human soul was a treat.
It was clear to see that even in Victorian England that prided itself with a greater sense of social and sexual restraint, things were not under control. You could see why Stevenson’s classic was a hit.
It bled with the reality of the human soul’s yearning to explain the wrestling between good and evil within. What Freud defined as split personality is really what the Bible simply explains as sinful man. Struggling to survive the inner wrestling of wanting to comply with God’s laws but unable to do so.
Dr. Jekyll who knew the fundamentals of what was righteous but on the inside had a wanting for the vile, the beastly and the wicked. His answer was a potion that could transform him and justify the fight within. Only to gradually be taken over in a fight that cannot be won. Sin always wins and takes over.
This was the warning that God gave Cain -
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7
God was warning Cain, its one thing to be tempted to sin from without, its a totally different matter to let the vile creature in. Dr. Jekyll unable to contain the lusts of his heart took the potion in the hopes of containing and assuaging his passions, if not altogether justifying his duplicity. But sin is systemic and as God warned has a life in itself.
That’s the true picture of our state of affairs. Sin is in our system. Unless taken out we will forever wrestle with it from within. And there is no concoction that can save us from its venom. Like Henry Jekyll we try to manage Edward Hyde - a lost cause that has a declared winner even before it started and that only ends in death.
We cannot manage behavior.For it is only an outworking of something from within. There is only one potion to combat the sin within – Jesus.
“Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” John 6:53