In this harrowing tale of man playing God, the mysterious Dr. Moreau challenges the limits of science and the power of the human soul. Edward Prendick, a lone shipwreck survivor, finds himself on a boat with Montgomery, a failed medical student, and his cargo of savage animals. But Edward isn’t safe for long — soon, he is stranded on an uncharted Pacific island with Montgomery and his beasts where he meets the brilliant scientist Dr. Moreau whose sinister experiments have forced him to flee civilization. Edward soon discovers the terrifying results of Dr. Moreau’s experiments — can he survive among Moreau’s horrific creations?
H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau is classic tale of what it means to be human and the dangers of science used to play God. Edward Prendick, a lone shipwreck survivor, finds himself saved and cared for on a passing ship by Montgomery, a failed medical student, and his strange, bestial servant, M’Ling. Montgomery is keeper of a cargo of savage animals bound for an uncharted island. But Edward isn’t safe for long — when they arrive at the island, both the captain of the ship and Montgomery refuse to take Edward and he is pushed back into the lifeboat. Montgomery finally takes pity and brings him to the island where he introduces him to Doctor Moreau who tells him the island is a biological station where he conducts research. Moreau and Montgomery decide to house Edward in an outer room of the enclosure in which they live. Edward remembers that he has heard of Moreau, and that he had been an eminent physiologist in London before a journalist exposed his gruesome experiments in vivisection.
The next day, Moreau begins working on a female puma, and its anguished cries drive Edward out into the jungle. He encounters a group of people who have an unmistakable resemblance to animals. He then encounters a hybrid of leopard and man who has killed a rabbit. Edward returns to the enclosure and questions Montgomery. After failing to get an explanation, Edward takes sleeping pills to rest. He then suffers a terrible nightmare reliving all he had been through.
The next morning, Edward awakes to the screams of what he believes to be a woman. He confronts Montgomery with his belief that Moreau has been vivisecting humans and that he is the next test subject. He flees into the jungle, where he meets an Ape Creature who takes him to a colony of Beast Creatures. The leader, named the Sayer of the Law, has him recite a litany called the Law proclaiming prohibitions against bestial behavior and praise for Moreau. Suddenly, Moreau bursts into the colony. Moreau explains that the Beast Creatures are animals he has vivisected to resemble humans.
Moreau tells Edward he can return or remain with the creatures. Edward returns to the enclosure, where Moreau shows him the Puma woman and Edward sees the terrifying results of Dr. Moreau’s experiments designed to “humanize” animals into human form.
Montgomery and M’Ling enter with the carcass of a dead rabbit. Eating flesh and tasting blood is one of the strongest prohibitions in the Law. Edward tells them he’d seen Leopard Man with a dead rabbit before. The men arm themselves and go to the huts where Moreau calls an assembly of the Beast Creatures. Moreau accuses the Leopard Man of killing the rabbit. When the Leopard Man moves to attack Moreau Edward shoots him, sparing him a return to Moreau's operating table. Edward claims he had no choice but to shoot. Moreau is furious and everyone leaves Edward alone for killing the Leopard Man.
Disgusted by Moreau’s unnatural experiments and cruelty, Edward sets the Puma Woman free. Moreau pursues her, but the two end up killing each other. Montgomery falls apart, and having gotten drunk, shares his alcohol with the Beast Creatures. Later, Montgomery returns badly wounded from a fight with the Beast Creatures. He dies leaving Edward as the last human on the island. Edward unsuccessfully attempts to claim Moreau's place, then gives up, telling the Beast Creatures that he is also an animal. Knowing that the Beast Creatures are reverting back into animals more each day, Edward knows he must escape or be killed. He convinces M’Ling and a Dog Creature to help push him out to sea in the launch.
He is picked up by a ship, but when he tells his story the crew thinks he is mad. To prevent himself from being declared insane, he pretends to have amnesia. When he gets back to England, he finds he has an irrational suspicion that other people are all Beast Creatures in danger of suddenly reverting to animals. He contents himself with solitude and the study of chemistry and astronomy, finding peace above in the heavenly bodies.
Astonishing… Four Stars. This haunting tale of the thriller classic will have you enthralled by its sights, ensnared by its story, and excited to reach the dramatic conclusion.
Edward Prendick: mid-20’s/early 30’s; Victorian age English gentleman; former student at the Royal College of Science, now travelling the world.
Montgomery: Dr. Moreau’s assistant; an alcoholic former medical student driven from London by scandal.
M’Ling: Creature created from a bear, dog and ox; eyes glow-in-the-dark and has furry ears; is Montgomery’s fiercely loyal assistant; can talk, cook and clean.
Captain Davis: 40’s – 60’s; drunken, angry, and loud.
Sailors: At least two sailors who do their Captain’s bidding; can be doubled with Beast Creature roles.
Puma-Woman: Female puma operated on by Dr. Moreau throughout most of the play in an attempt to transform her into a man-like creature.
Leopard-Creature: Creature created from a leopard who breaks Moreau’s Laws; swift and silent with a taste for flesh, the most dangerous creature on the island.
Ape-Creature: Creature created from an ape; can speak, but not well; considers itself equal to men because it has five fingers on each hand.
Dr. Moreau: Late 40’s/early 60’s; disgraced English vivisectionist; has no interest in “things” or pain or pleasure and is driven by his need to know and his ambition to be as God the Creator.
Sayer Of The Law: A large silver-haired creature who can speak; keeper of Moreau’s laws for the creatures of the island.
Satyr: Goat-like creature; “Satanic” in form.
St. Bernard-Creature: Creature created from a St.Bernard; like a domestic dog in character.
Hyena-Swine-Creature: Creature created from a carnivorous mix of hyena and pig; the second-most dangerous creature on the island.
Fox-Bear-Witch: Hybrid of fox and bear; supports Moreau’s Law.
Setting: Edward Prendick’s home in the English countryside; a cabin and deck on the schooner Ipecacuanha; the beach, jungle, and Dr. Moreau’s living and laboratory compound on the uncharted island somewhere in the south Pacific; 19thcentury.
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"Building a palpable sense of tension into the script as a whole, Scharf adapts the work from the familiar silver-screen tale into something that works with fluidity upon the stage. His ability to capture the tangible soul of a story and still make it uniquely his own, as his signature marks are peppered liberally throughout the piece, is astonishing. Blending one’s own voice into notions already fabricated is no easy task, but is one that Scharf measures up to with vigor." –Theatre Bloom
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The production materials for The Island of Dr. Moreau include:
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Director's Script – Single-sided script with space for director’s notes.