Some plays have been performed for decades. Branden Jobs-Jenkins’ play, Everybody, has been around a lot longer than that though- at least in some form. Acting as an (incredibly likeable) usher/guide for the evening, Kathryn Hunter-Williams explains that what the audience is about to view is an adaptation of an ancient morality play called Everyman, one that was probably itself an adaptation of another play that was based on a Buddhist fable. Obviously, this show, directed by Orlando Pabotoy and onstage now at PlayMakers Repertory Company, has a complex and somewhat convoluted past. However, that only serves to add to its mystery and intrigue.
Further keeping things interesting is the fact that the actors don’t play the same roles each night. Their roles, instead, are assigned by lottery, as a way to keep fate involved. This also ensures that the show is a little different each night, which makes one curious to see how other productions might go.
On this particular night, however, Anthony August was chosen to portray the main role, which he did powerfully, effectively, and with an incredibly natural, friendly air that made his character instantly relatable. The “main role” in this case is of the one person, the “Everybody,” who has been chosen to go before God, give an account of his life, and then meet Death.
What unfolds here is a trippy, highly-experimental tale that flies by in a frenzied but enjoyable 95 minutes. Pabotoy uses unique lighting effects and techniques by Cha See, hides his actors in the audience, and just plain pulls out all the stops to make this show one wild ride. The intensity is further enhanced by elaborate costumes, masks, effects, and so much more that all serve to make this production a true visual masterpiece.
But, despite the show’s wildness, it’s actually a simple story at heart- one about the mundanities of life and how we take them for granted, about what it means to be human, and about love and the people we encounter on our journey. Its message is both dark and hopeful. And, while this is definitely a think-piece, it’s one that’s truly worth thinking about for a long time.
SECOND OPINION: Jan. 27th Raleigh, NC Triangle Review review by Kurt Benrud: https://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2020/01/everybody-needs-to-see-playmakers-reps-everybody-what-a-piece-of-work/.
PlayMakers Repertory Company presents EVERYBODY at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28-31, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, 2 p.m. Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4-8, and 2 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Paul Green Theatre in the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.
TICKETS: $15 and up (click here for Special Offers), except $15 general admission ($10 for UNC students with ID) on Community Night (Tuesday, Jan. 28th).
BOX OFFICE: 919-962-PLAY, firstname.lastname@example.org, or https://tickets.playmakersrep.org/events.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-962-PLAY (7529), email@example.com, or http://playmakersrep.org/box-office/groups-and-special-events/.
SHOW: http://playmakersrep.org/show/everybody/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/1332737216911322/.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://youtu.be/f5HR1VQJh6E.
PRC NEWS RELEASE: http://playmakersrep.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/PlayMakers-Presents-Everybody-Jan-22-to-Feb-9.pdf.
2019-2020 SEASON (Legacy Now): http://playmakersrep.org/season/2019-2020/.
PRESENTER: http://www.playmakersrep.org/, https://www.facebook.com/playmakersrep, https://twitter.com/playmakersrep, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayMakers_Repertory_Company, and http://www.youtube.com/user/PlayMakersRep.
PRC BLOG (Page to Stage): http://playmakersrep.blogspot.com/.
VENUE: http://playmakersrep.org/about-us/paul-green-theatre/ and http://unchistory.web.unc.edu/building-narratives/paul-green-theatre/.
NOTE 1: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices will be available at all performances.
NOTE 2: There will be an All-Access Performance, with sign-language interpretation and audio description by Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28th.
NOTE 3: There will be FREE post-show discussions, with members of the cast and creative team, following the show’s 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29th; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2nd; and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4th, performances.
NOTE 4: There will be an Open Captioning Performance at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1st (for more information, click here).
NOTE 5: The Psychoanalytic Center of the Carolinas will sponsor a FREE post-show Mindplay psychoanalytic discussion after the show’s 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9th, performance.
Everybody (2017 Off-Broadway comedy): https://www.signaturetheatre.org/shows-and-events/Productions/2016-2017/Everybody.aspx (Signature Theatre page).
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (playwright): https://www.macfound.org/fellows/958/ (MacArthur Foundation Fellows Program bio), http://playmakersrep.org/artists/branden-jacobs-jenkins/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), http://iobdb.com/CreditableEntity/43969 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/branden-jacobs-jenkins-507016 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7637702/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branden_Jacobs-Jenkins (Wikipedia).
Orlando Pabotoy (director): https://tisch.nyu.edu/about/directory/drama/3416014 (New York University Tisch School of the Arts bio), http://playmakersrep.org/artists/orlando-pabotoy/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), http://iobdb.com/CreditableEntity/2905 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), and https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0655060/ (Internet Movie Database).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click https://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.triangleartsreview.com/, http://www.susiepotter.com, and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.