Location:Home > news > Review: Everybody

Review: Everybody

Time:2019-01-07 02:19Underwear site information Click:

comedy Classical Orchestra dance theater

Megan Haratine, Jovane Caamano, Bwalya Chisanga, March Shum, Olivia Cinquepalmi, Amy Mills in <em>Everybody</em>&nbsp;at Stage West

Review: Everybody | Stage West
Open now through Sun, Jan 27
Next performance today at 3pm
Chances Are...that you'll have a great time at Stage West's Everybody, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' revamp of the Medieval morality play Everyman.
by theaterjones.com/ntx/aboutus/20180404074031/2010-09-30/Jill Sweeney">Jill Sweeney
published Sunday, January 6, 2019

Review: Everybody

Photo: Evan Michael Woods

Jovane Caamaño, Bwalya Chisanga, March Shum, Megan Haratine, Olivia Cinquepalmi in Everybody at Stage West

Fort Worth — “Here begins a treatise how the high Father of Heaven sends Death to summon every creature to come and give account of their lives in this world, and is in the manner of a moral play.” So kicks off the 15th century play Everyman—sounds like quite the barn-burner, huh? Through allegory, the play’s unknown author (possibly a Dutchman with the first name “Peter,” but scholarly opinions vary) strives to give his fellow men some guidance on the big questions: What happens to you when you die? How do you live a good life? Is there any hope for salvation waiting for any of us?

Never one to shy away from similarly big questions in his work, playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins adapted this classic into a more contemporary mode, titling it more casually—and more inclusively—Everybody. As with his adaptation of Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon (titled An Octoroon, and staged brilliantly by Stage West as last season’s closer), Jacobs-Jenkins tells the same story for the most part, but tells it slant, and Stage West’s production, a regional premiere, excels at getting across not only the play’s humor, but its depth of feeling as well.

Truth be told, it’s hard for me to review this show for you. I mean, I can review a show for you—specifically the 8 p.m. Dec. 29, 2018 performance. But Jacobs-Jenkins includes a twist in this play, one that might seem like a gimmick if it didn’t so perfectly reinforce the play’s themes. In Everybody, was was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2018, “everybody” means “anybody”: the actors who portray Everybody and the play’s other allegorical figures are chosen each night via a lottery. So there’s no telling which of the 120 possible variations in casting an audience will see on any given night. But don’t fret—with this uniformly excellent cast, you’re in good hands no matter how the parts shake out.

Review: Everybody

Photo: Evan Michael Woods

Jovane Caamaño in Everybody at Stage West

So, to the story. After a brief meta-theatrical introduction (one of the playwright’s specialties), God (Marcus M. Mauldin) appears (or “God” with finger quotes as He’s styled throughout the production) to register his displeasure with how humanity is choosing to live their lives. He calls on Death (Amy Mills) to go fetch Everybody to the afterlife to give an accounting of their life. Death plucks her victims—actors Megan Haratine, Olivia Cinquepalmi, Jovane Caamaño, Bwalya Chisanga, and Mark Shum (Stage West’s managing director)—and gives them the skinny: their end is pretty seriously nigh. They all plead with Death for a delay, for some sort of 11th hour reprieve, and finally, for a little company for this final journey. Death agrees—and why not? Who’d be crazy enough to agree to follow someone to their death? It’s here that the parts are selected, cast members given their roles, and our Everybody (at the production I saw, Bwalya Chisanga) emerges, just prior to an intermission (a risky move, and one not in the original script, this was done presumably to give the actors a moment to orient themselves, but risks losing the show’s momentum).

Following intermission, we resume following Everybody as she sets out to search for a companion. Turned down first by Friendship (Haratine), Cousin (Shum), Kinship (Caamaño), and Stuff (Cinquepalmi), Everybody is joined by Love (Ryan Michael Friedman), who forces her to strip almost naked and face the reality of bodily decay. As Death comes to collect her, they’re joined briefly by Strength (Haratine), Beauty (Caamaño), Senses (Cinquepalmi), Mind (Shum), and Understanding (Mauldin), but they abandon Everybody one by one until all that’s left to follow her to her grave is Love, and latecomer Evil Shitty Things, the personification of every bad deed she committed in life. And off Everybody goes, to an uncertain fate, as Death, Time (Summer Stern), and Understanding have one last confab before the lights go out and we’re left to ponder our own reckoning.

Copyright infringement? Click Here!