"This is our very first ever double feature at The Pumphouse Players as far as putting on two plays in one night," said Barry King, director of "Dark Matters." "It's also our 35th anniversary of The Pumphouse Players this year. We're finding out that it's very hard work to put on two plays in one night but the reward we get from this is going to outweigh any hard problems we have along the way. So we're very excited about it."
Starting Friday at The Legion Theatre in Cartersville, the double feature will open with Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," which will feature many actors playing the part of Edward Hyde.
"[This story has] been done probably hundreds of times and it's been downplayed in children's versions and cartoon versions but this gets back to the original Robert Louis Stevenson novella in dealing with the brutality of man and the separation," said Michael Harris, director of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." "Dr. Jekyll's original intent was to separate the beast from the goodness of man and try to find a life of serenity by subduing the beast inside and instead he, of course, releases the beast. Of course the irony is in the novella the woman in it, Elizabeth, actually preferred the beast, Edward Hyde. He's much more of a brute and much more animalistic and much more appealing.
"So that's the shocking part of it is that the civilized Henry Jekyll, the quieter, more academic, more civilized man isn't the preferred lover of the two forms of man. And that's the part that plays out in our play as well. That's not always brought forth. In a lot of the movies and TV shows and short-story versions, it's played as a monster movie. Mr. Hyde is a murderer and a monster and Henry Jekyll is his counterpart, and we have good and evil, and the police and the other characters in the play are hunting down the monster. Well, in this one it's the tale of irony in that Henry Jekyll is a bitter man, that he can't control his creation or the other side of himself and the woman that he pursues prefers the beast and he doesn't deal with that very well in the end."
The double feature will close with "Dark Matters," an adult mystery surrounding the disappearance and reappearance of Bridget Cleary.
"The thing that I found interesting about this particular play is it's written by a comic book author and I'm a huge, avid comic book collector," King said. "The author of this play has actually put together a very nice, little mystery drama that's based really in reality more than anything else. So that's what first drew me into this story to want to put this play onstage.
"'Dark Matters' is aptly named. That's exactly what the play is about. It's a play about mystery surrounding a family that lives in a remote area of Virginia near a cornfield. The wife has gone missing, and she shows back up after [being] missing with this incredible story of why she's been missing and interesting, fascinating things happen from there. There are a lot of dark matters in 'Dark Matters.'"
The Halloween double feature will be presented Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 24 and 31 at 3 p.m. The opening night performance will cost $15, afterwards tickets will be $20 for adults; $17 for students, individuals 65 and older, and Pumphouse Players members; and $15 for groups.
For more information, visit www.pumphouseplayers.com or call 770-387-2610.