Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a modern interpretation of the 15thC Morality play, Everyman, in which the character of Everyman is summoned by God to make account of his life before passing into the unknown afterlife. Everyman solicits entities such as Friendship, Kinship, and Love to accompany him, only to discover that few of these can be taken from this life into the next. Jacobs-Jenkins’ play tells the same allegorical and thought provoking story, only with humor, modern theatrics, and contemporary commentary on stage representation. Who can be “Everybody” in 2019?
The question is made manifest in the selection by lottery, from five actors cast as “Somebody”, of who will play Everybody in this particular production. A diverse and inclusive group of “Somebodies” is essential to the meaning of the entire enterprise.
The allegorical characters Everybody, Friendship, Cousin, Kinship, and Stuff are chosen within the lottery process, either randomly or after the selection of Everybody. The plan is to perform the lottery as early as callbacks or as late as a week into rehearsals. Additional allegorical characters Death, Love, God, Understanding, and Time will be cast discretely; the last played by a 10 yr. old girl from the community.
“La Danse Macabre”, essentially a musical interlude within the play, is a separate project coming out of MFA Teaching Fellow Russell Stuart Lilie’s class, Performance Project: The Dynamic Group (DAN4137)
Everyman is no barrel of laughs, being a morality play about death. EVERYBODY tells the same tale, with equal emotional heft; but it is not only provocative and involving, it is also funny. Wildly funny, in fact.” —Huffington Post.
“…a very meta and saucy adaptation…” —Time Out NY.
The approximately 90-minute play will perform soon after Long Weekend (Oct. 25-27). This 4-credit course is for the cast, or others assigned production responsibilities, and represents work both in and out of rehearsals necessary to build a successful performance and/or collaboration in production. Rehearsals, tech, and performance, and a reflection essay constitute students’ commitment.