Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Dark Side

Lord VaderDo you remember that episode of Star Trek [original series] where Captain Kirk is split between his two selves? One good, one evil. Then there is Star Wars where Luke Skywalker’s father is seduced by the Dark Side and becomes Lord Vader. Science fiction is great but it’s just a representation of Human Nature in another place or another time. What worries me is that the special effects get the attention and the underlying message is passed by and forgotten.

I often wonder at such progress that we Human Beings have made over the last two and a half Millennia. Science and Technology have progressed at a fantastic rate, even in my lifetime, BUT do we understand ourselves any more than the ancient Greek philosophers or those who wrote the ancient texts of Religious manuscripts? I think not.

Which brings me to a Review of Prime Evil.

I went to see this play on Friday evening. I am not a theatregoer so my comments on the production and acting are of little consequence. I went because I am interested in the subject – I did Psychology at OU, not for the qualification but purely out of interest.

It was not a long play, 50 minutes or so, there was no set, no props and only two actors. There were no special effects to distract our attention but I did hear people afterwards talking about how Ashley had managed to portray two completely different personas effectively. Now those are the "special effects" I am interested in. [See questions later].

We can all do it in real life, some better than others, but we can all do it.

The play itself is a series of sessions between one Edward Hyde, an inmate of Broadmore Asylum, and the Psychologist Carl Jung. Hyde is in there because he killed another man simply for asking for directions and is suspected of also killing a Doctor Jeckle, who is missing. Of course, we the audience know that Hyde is also Dr Jeckle, [read the book, seen the film, heard the story, bought the T-shirt] and we witness the path that Jung takes to find that out.

Throughout Hyde talks about "him" or "the other". He describes him in graphic detail. A Doctor, a man of learning such as you Dr Jung. A pillar of the community who performs his social duty. A Trustee of a correction unit for young girls. He sits, with his peers, in judgement. A 16-year-old girl, sweet of face, is charged with "insubordination" and sentenced to 35 lashes upon a bare bottom. Hyde describes the scene in detail. The knickers descend, Jeckle and the other Trustees lick their lips and the bulges in their trousers belie their true feelings.

Wouldn’t it be nice, says Hyde, if we could separate our two selves and indulge without guilt or remorse?

Hyde persuades Jung to let him have the potion and he reverts to Jeckle. They discuss the implications but it is cut short. He is too far gone, the potion is only temporary and he becomes Hyde once more.

The play concludes with Hyde’s words – "My Name is Legion, for we are many."

Many we may be, but some may be more susceptible to the corruption of power than others?

Is it possible for someone to go too far to be redeemed or recovered?
Is it possible for a Hyde to disguise themself as a Jeckle?
If it is, how do you tell? They won’t be wearing helmets like Lord Vader!

Prime Evil by Poetic Justice Productions. If you get the chance go see.

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