Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Lake Braddock High School The Island of Dr. Moreau

By • Feb 18th, 2008 • Category: Cappies

Can humanity change into pure instinct on a mysterious, isolated island? In The Island of Dr. Moreau, performed skillfully by Lake Braddock High School, instinct takes over beast and man.

The novel “The Island of Dr. Moreau”, written by H. G. Wells in 1896, was adapted for the stage by Troy Tradup. It tells the story of a scientist who transforms animals into human creatures. The story begins when Edward Prendick (Kit Benz) is shipwrecked on an island somewhere between Malaysia and Indonesia. Prendick is a biologist who wants to find some discovery outside of London. He finds himself on Dr. Moreau’s (Tom Mason) island inhabited by various strange creatures that must follow Moreau’s laws constantly to maintain their humanity.

As Edward Prendick, Kit Benz grasped the depths of his character with rich facial expressions to convey his emotions. Tom Mason, as Dr. Moreau, depicted the old mad scientist with great energy and emotion throughout the show. For the character Ellison Montgomery, Stephanie Ramsey used her poise and clear articulation to contribute to her role as the sidekick scientist.

Many supporting roles commanded attention on stage. One of these roles included the performance of M’Ling (Katie Baukin). Her vivid body language and dedication to her character never strayed during the show. Other vibrant performances included those of Noelle Vinas, as the Leopard Woman, and Allison Stein, as the Hyena Woman. Both conveyed the balance between the animal and man through their intense purrs, hisses, or laughter.

Overall, the ensemble work was effective, especially during the animal ensemble scenes. This ensemble worked well together and contributed to the eerie, frightening, and bleak atmosphere of the island. Each character created his or her own unique persona, but collaborated to make the scene effective.

Makeup designed by Sarah Purgal lit up the show with intricate designs and patterns for each face. Costumes by Hanane Abdalla were creative and imaginative assets to the show. Lights, by Raychel Trump, and sound, by Allison Stein, added to the dramatic effect. Stephanie Ramsey‘s set design was a necessity for this rugged island.

Some obvious set changes detracted from the show, but the speed of the stage crew was impressive. Although there were some problems with certain effects, the cast kept moving with great energy throughout the show.

This play raises a great question: “Are we not men?” Their surroundings and the instinct for survival contribute to the animals and the humans succumbing to drastic measures. The eerie, terrifying environment created in The Island of Dr. Moreau answers this question with captivating gore, intriguing mystery, and an intense climax. Lake Braddock successfully concluded that “Indeed, we are men.”

by Carolyn Darville of Bishop Ireton

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