by Lynn on March 30, 2022

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person, at York University, The Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre, Accolade Building East, until, April 2, 2022


Adapted from Everyman by Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins

Directed by Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster

Choreography by Monica Dottor

Set by Erin Dagenais

Costumes by Tessa Dougan

Lighting by Ash Ovington

Sound by Michael Reynolds

Ensemble: Miranda Brown-Matthews

Owen Demers

Tuna Gűmeli

Pyper Johnston

Marianna Kokkinos

Jordan Jerry Kuper

Alex Lamarre

Anton Ling

Trinity Lloyd

Jessie Lutness

Jadyn Nasato

Eliza Smith

Lonelle Sweeting

Johnny Thirakul

Tito Vallarino

That secretive playwright, Anonymous, wrote Everyman, a medieval morality play, in the 15th century. It was a play about Death and living one’s life well and wisely. Then in 2018 the dandy American playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins adapted the play and called it Everybody. To add a bit of spice to the proceedings the part of “Everybody” is chosen from the cast by lottery just before the show. Other parts then slot into place by chance as well. Here is the description of the play as per the back flap of the text of Everybody: “This modern riff on the fifteenth century morality play Everyman follows “Everybody” as they journey through life’s greatest mystery—the meaning of life.”

Actually, it’s a little murkier than that. “Everybody” has to prepare for a voyage of no return—to death—and in the process of course, it’s hoped learns the meaning of life and how to live it well. And it’s funny too!

The audience is prepared when an Usher (Marianna Kokkinos)  enters and gets our attention quickly. She waits while we turn off our cell phones. She explains what ‘silence’ and ‘Do Not Disturb’ mean and how they don’t mean what we hope they should mean with a cell phone. Kokkinos is straight-forward, pleasant and totally in control of the assembled. You don’t want to cross this “Usher” with a ringing phone.

There are appearances from Death (Miranda Brown-Matthews), Evil and Love (both played by the same actor after the lottery), and visitations by Friendship, Kinship, Strength, Time, Stuff, God (people are surprised God exists), Mind, Senses and others.

 Director Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster has envisioned this ‘ordinary’ world of Everybody with simple sets by Erin Dagenais, but with a really impressive conduit to “death”; everyday clothing that anybody would wear, thanks to Tessa Dougan’s costumes, and evocative lighting from Ash Ovington and sound by Michael Reynolds. And while Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster is a gifted director who draws strong performances from her fourth-year Acting Conservatory cast, she does something inspired. The whole cast performs the play wearing masks that cover the nose, mouth and chin. What has ‘everybody’ been doing for the last two years? Correct, we have been wearing masks to protect our loved ones and others. Having the cast wear masks while performing the play is just brilliant! In almost every single instance the enunciation is clear; the message pronounced and it all seems effortless.

Also inspired is Monica Dottor’s choreography of “Danse Macabre” by Saint-Saëns. The group moves like an otherworldly cohesive group but with each actor creating a distinct ‘persona’.  

All round bold work. Bravo.

Theatre@York presents:

Runs until April 2, 2022.

Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission.


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