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Kyle Duke Adamiec as Robert Louis Stevenson in Death Is No Bad Friend. Photograph by G. E. Gallas.
Through the Death Is No Bad Friend script, I wanted to explore Robert Louis Stevenson’s life and how it inspired his work — especially his famous Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
I believe one crucial element of Robert Louis Stevenson’s inspiration for Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was his subconscious. According to Fanny Stevenson:
“In the small hours of one morning,[...]I was awakened by cries of horror from Louis. Thinking he had a nightmare, I awakened him. He said angrily: ‘Why did you wake me? I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.’ I had awakened him at the first transformation scene.”
Furthermore, Lloyd Osbourne (Fanny’s son) wrote:
“…I remember the first disease of the world though it were yesterday. Louis came downstairs in a fever; read nearly half the book aloud; and then, while we were still gasping, he was away again, and busy writing. I doubt if the first draft took so long as three days.”
In these instances, it seems that R.L.S. wrote from his subconscious — through nightmares and feverish episodes. This makes me wonder what past experiences might have found their way into R. L. S.’s subconscious.
As a writer, I always find elements of myself manifesting in the character I write regardless of whether they are “good” or “evil.” So I wondered if any part of R.L.S. seeped into Dr. Jekyll or even Mr. Hyde.
Death Is No Bad Friend hypothesizes what these past experiences may have been.
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Copyright 2014 by G. E. Gallas