Lone Star Ballet takes a walk on the wild side with 'Jekyll and Hyde'

Last Updated by Chip Chandler on
Mateus Barbosa da Silva and Lauren Newman star in "Jekyll and Hyde."
Photo by Chip Chandler

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

A killer stalks the stage in Lone Star Ballet's season-opening production, and he's hiding behind a sweet smile.

Mateus Barbosa da Silva stars as the more homicidal half of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, an original LSB production being revived for performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St. Tickets are $10 to $40, plus fees.

"It is actually so exciting because I don't think I've ever played a villain before," said da Silva, who came from Recife, Brazil, to study musical theater and dance at West Texas A&M University. "I've always played the funny guy or the prince or the love interest."

Da Silva, a new member of LSB's professional company of dancers, will dance opposite LSB veteran Anthony Femath as the repressed good guy Henry Jekyll in the company's adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novella.

LSB first staged the ballet in 2011, the same year it launched its professional company.

"Every year now, I've had people say we need to bring back Jekyll and Hyde," said LSB artistic director Vicki McLean. "It's such great fun with the murder and the mayhem and the creepiness of the story. It's a favorite of our audiences, and the dancers like it."

Mateus Barbosa da Silva stars as Hyde in Lone Star Ballet's "Jekyll and Hyde."Mateus Barbosa da Silva stars as Hyde in Lone Star Ballet's "Jekyll and Hyde."Photo by Chip Chandler

The 2011 production starred former LSB dancers Andrew Gehm and Derek Flowers as the title characters, and naturally, having new men step into the roles requires some recailbration.

"Derek was very tall as Hyde, while Mateus is smaller but very athletic," McLean said. "I tried to adapt some of the characteristics from the first time, but Derek being a much taller man, his response time was very different.

"Andrew and Anthony are probably more similar in their approach to Dr. Jekyll," she continued. "In the beginning, he's a very gracious man, totally absorbed and drawn by the mystery of the change in his personality. The strength of Hyde is somewhat intoxicating to him."

To da Silva, as well. 

"This ballet is so mysterious and creepy and real," he said. "It's a challenge, but a challenge that I've always wanted to accomplish."

Femath, who was out of town during the photo shoot and interview session, has experience dancing as a killer: He starred as the titular vampire in Dracula in 2014. That helps tie together the characters, McLean said.

"They have a bit of an interchangeable quality that makes it stronger in the characters of Jekyll and Hyde," McLean said. "It makes it more believable."

Though da Silva has less experience tapping into his darker side, McLean felt he was right for the role.

"There's a rougher quality about ... Mateus's Hyde that's very strong — a sinister quality because of his theatrical background," she said.

"Vicki said this ballet is almost like musical theater because there's so much acting to it," da Silva said. "I feel with a ballet like Jekyll and Hyde you have to have the acting side of it to portray those two characters who are so well-known. ... (The audience) already has a perception of who the characters are."

The cast of Lone Star Ballet's "Jekyll and Hyde" rehearses for performances Friday and Saturday.The cast of Lone Star Ballet's "Jekyll and Hyde" rehearses for performances Friday and Saturday.Photo by Chip Chandler



Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at Chip.Chandler@actx.edu, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and at www.facebook.com/chipchandlerwriter on Facebook.

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