“Everybody” a Morality Play Questioning Life’s Value at SOU Theatre
SOU Theatre presents Everybody – a modern day morality play that questions life’s value
Thursday, May 18, 2023 (Ashland, OR). SOU Theatre presents their final production of the academic year Everybody. The show opens May 25th at 8:00pm at the Southern Oregon University Main Stage Theatre with a run of eight performances that include both matinee and evening shows, wrapping up on June 4th.
Everybody was written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins in 2017 and was adapted from the 15th century Catholic morality play “Everyman.” Jacobs-Jenkins is an American playwright who won the 2014 Obie Award for Best New American Play for his plays Appropriate and An Octoroon.
The play is a directorial debut at SOU for Vaun Monroe, who is also an assistant professor in Digital Cinema. In addition to teaching at SOU, Monroe is an award-winning, international director of theatre and film.
“In Everybody, we find the protagonist in an existentialist crisis. When summoned by God, the main character, motivated by fear of death and solitude, tries to find someone to die with them, so they won’t be alone in the afterlife,” said Monroe.
“Playing God, Understanding, and Usher has been extremely humbling. Embodying characters that are such different aspects of humanity and concepts of theology has caused me to be deeply introspective during my character work. Since the only actual ‘person’ I’m playing is the Usher, it has been challenging to find the right angle to approach these other subjects. Often, I’ll find myself looking each day for aspects of what I’m trying to accomplish with that character and bring it that night to rehearsal. I love constantly nurturing my crafts growth, no matter how small. I think it’s especially fascinating to do with a play like Everybody,” said Jodie Chapin, a junior majoring in Theatre at SOU.
Featuring a cast of 13 SOU students, Everybody includes: Jodie Chapin as God/Usher/Understanding, Tegan Kelley as Death, Rachel Engh as Love, Daphne Cowlin as Little Girl/Time, and the Somebodys: Tim Turner, Wyatt Fisher, Connor Lomeli, Emma Richardson, and Siena Schofield.
“The most challenging part of costuming this show was that most of the actors play concepts instead of people. What does a ‘somebody’ or ‘everybody’ look like? And for our primary characters – what does death really look like? We’ve seen grim reapers, dark figures, even scary masks in both theatre and film. Creating our versions of death, love, ‘somebodys’, and ‘everybodys’ and their looks was an ambitious project. I’ve never experienced a show quite like this before and I can’t wait for the audience to see it,” said Mackenzie Waggoner, costume designer and a senior majoring in Theatre at SOU.
Performances run just over 100 minutes, and the play is rated PG-13 for language and difficult content that includes death and child abduction, and has a trigger warning for bright, flashing strobe lights.
“This production ponders the idea of what makes life meaningful and the value of one’s contributions to the world in the face of implacable death. We are asked to consider how each of us would present our life to prove it was worthwhile,” said Monroe.
Tickets are $20 for reserved seating/ $15 for seniors and are available online at https://sou.universitytickets.com. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the OCA Box Office Monday-Friday from Noon-6pm on the Southern Oregon University Campus, one hour prior to the performances, and over the phone by calling 541-552-6348.