Many of us work so hard trying to make it in life; in fact, isn’t that the reason why we are all here in this school? Well, maybe your parents said, “Stay in school and be great,” to drag you to college or maybe you came for the parties. The bottom line is we all want to have it all and be successful in whatever we do.
On Sept. 9 at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, the 15th century morality play “Everyman,” recently adapted by Director Carol Ann Duffy, streamed through NT Live. The play targeted the modern society’s love and pursuit for material things instead of integrity. The first scene was of god represented as a cleaning-woman called Good Deeds, portrayed by Kate Duchene, who spoke on how she was forgotten and paid no mind to. The main character Everyman, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, attends his 40th birthday party where he and his friends drink, dance and enjoy an entire table of cocaine until the birthday boy loses consciousness. Everyman in this play is a rich and successful guy who, because of money, forgets not only his family but also what it means to be a good person. He is, however, quickly reminded that material wealth is not what makes a man when Death, in the figure of Dermot Crowley, comes knocking on his door.
Death enables him to see the person he knew he should have been all along by forcing him to account for his life, and when all his friends, family and wealth could not help him on this journey, he is left with only Knowledge, portrayed by Penny Layden, a relative to Goodness. When all else fails, Everyman realizes that he needs to make peace with his creator and, with the help of Knowledge, he faces death with a newfound humility and appreciation for life.
The cast of the play was well-selected. The star of the play, Ejiofor, who some of you may recognize from the movies “12 Years a Slave” or “Half a Yellow Sun,” gave an amazing performance, and the transformation from being extremely happy and enjoying his birthday to being terrified and desperate was very genuine and convincing. While Ejiofor’s performance seemed to appeal to the moral and emotional part of the audience, Crowley as Death did an incredible job in bringing the house down in almost every scene he was in.
Overall, the message of morality in the play was very clear and it implored all of us to recognize our faults and become better individuals for a better society.