Prologue: Stevenson’s Dream
Robert Louis Stevenson is lying in bed, ill and feverish, wrestling with a painful lung condition. He tries to write but is unable to concentrate. His nurse, Alison Cunningham, administers his nightly injection of opium to relieve the pain. As the drug begins to take effect, a sense of euphoria comes over Stevenson. An image begins to evolve in his mind of a respectable and upright man wrestling with his own dark impulses: this is Dr. Jekyll. As he emerges in Stevenson’s imagination, Dr. Jekyll arrives at his laboratory, where he begins working on dangerous experiments, seeking to explore the dual personality inside every human being. As the opium takes effect, Stevenson slumps into sleep; but in his nightmares, the story of Dr. Jekyll continues to grow.
The Insane Asylum
The stage is filled with beds and mental patients, dominated by an intimidating Head Nurse. Dr. Jekyll and his colleague Dr. Lanyon enter the room arguing about Dr. Jekyll’s latest experiments into human personality, which Dr. Lanyon describes as “scientific balderdash.” Some wealthy benefactors have been invited to watch Jekyll perform his experiments in an effort to generate funds to further his work, but his efforts are a failure.
Dr. Jekyll’s Laboratory
Jekyll makes a decision to experiment upon himself. He creates and then ingests a dangerous potion designed to bring out what is hidden in his innermost consciousness. At the same time Stevenson takes more opium, we catch a glimpse of Mr. Hyde, the embodiment of evil that is within Dr. Jekyll, waiting to emerge. For a moment both Jekyll and Stevenson senses Hyde’s presence. In the midst of that discovery, Stevenson forces Jekyll to dress and leave for Sir Danvers Carew’s Dinner Party.
Dr. Jekyll rushes through the rain-soaked night landscape of London, past street lamps and through the fog, towards Dr. Carew’s house. He can’t escape the feeling of Mr. Hyde within him.
Sir Danvers Carew’s Estate
We find ourselves in an elegant dining room filled with guests. Dr. Jekyll is greeted by Sir Danvers and Mrs. Carew and his fiancée, their daughter Nellie. Jekyll and Nellie begin an intimate conversation, but he is distracted, his mind still on his dangerous experiment. Nellie gives Jekyll the gift of an ornate cane. Carew invites his male guests to escape with him to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern for the rest of the evening; Dr. Jekyll follows them out.
Deacon Brodie’s Tavern
The men arrive at a bustling tavern, full of prostitutes, drugs and danger, but also characterized by sexual appetite and high spirits. Dr. Jekyll is brought down the stairs and into the pulsating space by Carew along with Dr. Lanyon, Mr. Utterson and Mr. Enfield. Deacon Brodie escorts in a young prostitute named Rowena, the “new girl”. When Deacon Brodie behaves badly towards her, Dr. Jekyll tries to intervene to protect her and she becomes smitten by him. But as his libido rises, Dr. Jekyll becomes aggressive towards Rowena. Realizing that the drug has been successful and that his “other self” is emerging, he grabs his coat and cane and attempt to flee. Rowena follows him from a distance, worried about what is happening to him.
The Street and Dr. Jekyll’s Hallucination
As Dr. Jekyll moves towards his house, Rowena trails behind him in the darkness. She sees Dr. Jekyll enter through the red door, where Stevenson is waiting on the other side, ready to unleash the evil of Mr. Hyde within Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Hyde, who emerges before our eyes, triumphant and fully formed.