Another delightful production at Antaeus Theatre in Glendale.
By Carol Edger Germain
“Everybody” (written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Jennifer Chang) is a reimagining of the 15th century morality play, “Everyman” (with the title updated to today’s inclusive pronoun. Various other twists included on who/what life accoutrements accompany Everybody on the journey to the everlasting hereafter). Death may be considered a somber subject, but there is plenty of humor in this production.
An interesting creative element is that the actors playing the soon-to-be-deceased Everybody and four associated characters (“Somebodies”) who Everybody implores to be companions on the journey are designated by lottery right before each performance starts. Everybody and the Somebodies must be able to jump into any role immediately before the action begins. The actors who play these five roles: Everybody, Family/Cousin, Stuff, Friendship, and Beauty, based on the lottery are: Lisa Sanaye Dring, Nicole Erb, Harry Groener, Antonio Jaramillo, and Gerard Joseph.
Overseeing Everybody‘s quest are the following non-rotating players:
- “Death” (Anne Gee Byrd), waiting around every corner, always in attendance and furthering the preparations, played as a most engaging yet inevitable entity, I almost wouldn’t mind meeting her on my journey;
- “God” (Cherish Monique Duke) who also appears as Usher and Understanding, a most animated, commanding, and unique “God” who gets the show on the road by greeting us at the door, explaining in detail why we must silence our cellphones, and thereafter interjecting wise observations;
- “Time” (Dawn Didawick), a most charming Mother and
- the effusive “Love” (Alberto Isaac).
The theater is already intimate, but when several of the characters merge into the action from the audience, it feels even more like we’re observing from a large family room at home (well, at someone’s home, not mine). Yes, the old adage “you can’t take it with you” continues to apply to many things, no matter what we do, but there is great flexibility in what we leave behind.
Everybody 9/23-10/17 (every day excepts Tuesdays and Wednesdays) Antaeus Theatre Company Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center* 110 East Broadway Glendale, CA 91205 Tickets: antaeus.org *Antaeus requires proof of full vaccination to enter the building. Masks must also be worn at all times inside the building.
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