The relationship between good and evil is no better explained than in Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," the story of a good doctor who explores his evil side.

The relationship between good and evil is no better explained than in Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," the story of a good doctor who explores his evil side.

Portraying both good and evil in one person can be challenging, according to actors from the Gahanna Lincoln High School drama department. Even more challenging is making a transformation from good to evil - via Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde - on stage in front of more than 700 people.

High school senior Ben Stine, who plays Dr. Jekyll in the high school's musical production, said his transformation requires an overall change of appearance, with everything from hair and clothing to his voice changing.

"It's a work in progress really," he said during rehearsals. "I started with a deeper voice and then tried to create a character's voice."

Stine achieved both during practice, even changing his singing voice when his persona changes.

Stine has been a lead performer in local productions. This performance is challenging for him, he said, because of all of the technical aspects. The music, the acting and the staging: everything has to flow with a rhythm.

"Getting them to understand the need for character and vocals and dance all at the same time" is the challenge, drama teacher Cindi Macioce said. She said teaching them to do all three at the same time is difficult but is "wonderful when they get it."

Auditions were held in February. Macioce said about 120 students auditioned. She cast 54, and 30 crewmembers worked on sets. A 25-member student orchestra has practiced with the cast, supporting the vocals.

The two female leads in the production - Emma, Jekyll's fiance, and Lucy, the prostitute who knows Hyde - are being portrayed by seniors Ashley Hines and Abby Leithart, respectively.

Both young women experienced their own sort of split personality issue during the auditions in that Leithart auditioned for Lucy and Hines auditioned for Emma. Hines said she wanted to play Lucy because she thought it would be more of a challenge for her, but after being cast as Emma, she found "this is a challenge for me because I have to live into the character."

Though she's been involved in theater, this is Leithart's first lead role in a performance.

"I don't know if I can say it's more work, but it's more pressure," Leithart said of playing lead.

The production will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, May 6 to 8, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 9. Tickets are $10 each and are available at the high school front office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning May 3. Tickets also may be purchased during lunch periods between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the high school concession stand.

Macioce said tickets also would be sold at the door if available.

The school chooses performances that are in the best interest of the students, challenging them to get the most out of each production, Macioce said.

She called this "a big show," with "big sets, big costumes and big sounds." Even practices seemed complicated, with Macioce coaching actors, the school's vocal music director, Jeremy Lahman, coaching the actors who were singing and instrumental music director Jeff Shellhammer leading the orchestra.

"We've worked our hardest and hope to see a lot of people there," Stine said.

During all four performances, the performing-arts boosters will sell roses and carnations. A high school student art exhibition that includes more than 300 pieces will be on display during intermission. High school seniors each will have a table showing a chronology of their work done over the past four years, and pieces from all grade levels will be represented in the show.

lwince@thisweeknews.com