World Premiere of PUSH Physical Theatre's JEKYLL & HYDE Opens in January
"Yeah, we're throwing each other around at an alarming rate," jokes PUSH Co-Founder/Co-Director Darren Stevenson, referring to the company's creative process, which is rooted in long hours of physical improvisation - in this case, of perhaps a more violent nature than usual. "We're also rehearsing actual speaking lines for the first time ever, which is almost as painful."
Based on Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella, (The) Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, PUSH's third and latest long-form work examines the struggle between good and evil within one man while exploring the dark side within each of us. That seems to be a recurring theme for PUSH, given its 2009 production of Dracula at Geva Theatre Center.
"Darren grew up as a pastor's kid in England, and church was a big part of my upbringing here in America. Good and evil were clearly defined and life issues were mostly presented as black or white. Maybe for that reason, we've become interested in the gray area, and what that even means," theorizes wife and PUSH Co-Founder/Co-Director Heather Stevenson. "Most of PUSH's work asks important questions to which there are no easy answers, and this is no exception."
In order to bring the classic story to stage in PUSH's own unique way, the company once more collaborated with Dracula script writer, Danny Hoskins, now Artistic & Managing Director of Blackfriars Theatre. Blackfriars is presenting the show as part of its 2015/16 regular season, with additional support by Nocon & Associates, an Ameriprise Private Wealth Advisory Practice.
"PUSH performers consistently challenge themselves, their collaborators and their audiences to expect more from traditional theatre experiences, and with Jekyll & Hyde, they've raised the bar yet again," says Hoskins. "I'm thrilled to share PUSH's dynamic storytelling and artistry with Blackfriars' audiences and the Rochester community."
Jekyll & Hyde will also incorporate the illusion-creating skills of longtime PUSH Lighting Designer Toni Elderkin and Sound and Video Designer Dan Roach. Three-dimensional video projection especially plays a large part in the production, for which a national tour is also in the works.
PUSH Physical Theatre's Jekyll & Hyde runs for 11 performances: Friday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. (Sunday Salon, show followed by talkback with PUSH); Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 14 (sold out) at 2 p.m. Tickets begin at $31.50 ($15 students/$3 off for seniors) at blackfriars.org or (585) 454-1260.