Death is a subject that often has people walking on eggshells.
The play " Everybody" was directed by LMU assistant professor Daphnie Sicre and written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. This production follows the story of the character Everybody, who pled with his companions — “Friendship,” “Kinship,” “Stuff” and “Love” — in hopes that one of them will accompany them to their appointment with Death.
"Everybody" is a 2018 play based on the medieval morality play "Everyman," which uses allegorical characters to examine the question of Christian salvation and what man should do to attain it.
"Everybody" is not a play for everybody. The play is a dark comedy and trigger warnings were prominent. This production contained graphic/explicit profanity, coarse and ableist language, themes of race and racism, themes of death and dying and references to sex and sexuality.
The play starts off with the character Usher who explains the rules of the theatre. Soon after, God possesses them and introduces Death. Death then gives Everybody a mission to find someone to accompany them on their journey to eternal rest.
The first person Everybody comes across is Friendship. He's energetic and tells Everybody how much their friendship means to him. He says:
“I would literally die with you,” “I’m with you through thick and thin” and, “If you ever need anything, I am here.”
The interaction between Friendship and Everybody leaves you thinking about your personal friendships. Would they really accompany you to death? Are the people you consider your best friends really your best friends? Friendships, in the end, will use your sadness or untimely death to gain sympathy points from others.
Ultimately, Friendship did not accompany Everybody on their way to death, and they continued on.
In between each companion section, the actors aggressively walk around the stage while someone speaks about the meaning of life, how we go about living and how life is an entrapment.
Kinship and Cousinship were the people Everybody talked to next. Family should be there with you every step of the way in life. There is no bigger supporter than family. However, will family be there for you when the time comes? This is an interesting section to watch because it makes you reflect on your family dynamic. If your family is close, then they would have no problem accompanying you on this journey, but if your family is distant, then there might be a problem.
Stuff is an interesting person that Everybody often communicates with. Everybody explores the dilemma of whether material belongings will make us happy in the end. This gets you thinking if the priceless, important and intimate objects in our lives will accompany us to the end goal. Everybody tries to persuade Stuff into being an offering up to God, but, sadly, Stuff does not accompany Everybody, and Everybody is left alone.
That is, until Love comes along.
This part was the toughest to watch. Love stands at the top of the stage, looks down on Everybody and makes them say awful things about themself such as, “I’ve been very disappointed to myself.” Love makes him walk around the stage, in nothing but boxers and a plain shirt, while saying such phrases over and over. It seems to symbolize how love makes you go crazy.
The transition between that scene to the next was very confusing.
Two glow-in-the-dark skeletons come out dancing, and from the middle of the stage emerges a huge skull and arms singing along to "Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche. This had the audience laughing, and was a nice tension break from the rough scene from before.
Understanding, Beauty, Strength, Five Senses and Mind all accompanied Everybody to the end of the line. However, when they arrived at the portal, they all abandoned Everybody. Beauty, Strength, Five Senses and Mind were all important in the land of the living, but they were not important once you reached the end.
Love and Evil were the only two to accompany Everybody to the other side. This would have been a great ending to the play, but it continued on to Death having a confusing interaction with Time, as Death was dating Space — Time’s brother.
The Usher comes out, and the end of this production is a reflection on what happens after we pass on. No one knows for sure what the other side is like; it will always be a mystery. All we do know is that we can’t undo what we did on Earth.
Overall, it was a great production. The set was minimal yet beautiful, the acting was done well and the meaning and symbolism of the play will keep you thinking once the play ends.
"Everybody" ran from Nov. 4 to 7, and each show was sold out.
This is the opinion of Malak Jaffal, a senior journalism major from Palm Dale, California. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow and tweet comments to @LALoyolan on Twitter, and like the Loyolan on Facebook.