Theater

Vulnerable Yet Comedic, ‘Everybody’ Wows its Audience

Joe Mazza, Bravelux | Courtesy of the Loyola Department of Fine and Performing ArtsMariana Gonzalez and Momina Shazad in Loyola DFPA's "Everybody"

Loyola’s showing of “Everybody” successfully dazzles with an immersive show of stellar acting, sound effects, lighting and unique presentation of a morality play. 

The play seamlessly adapts the medieval play “The Summoning of Everyman” into a modern production by adding slang such as “homie” and various profanities. However, the show still stuck to the overlapping life lessons of appreciating life and not being selfish in death.

Walking into the theater, show-goers are welcomed with a club-like atmosphere with a disco ball spinning as CeeLo Green’s “F— You” and Hannah Montana’s “Nobody’s Perfect” played. 

The lighting and music were only the beginning of the inclusion the play demanded and obtained from its audience. Reaching into the crowd, Carlin Decker, who plays Death, called upon the five role-changing actors who were sitting in the audience. This symbolizes the individualized yet universal concept of all the audience being “Everybody” — the main character of the play.

The actors utilize the stage and the auditorium, not limiting themselves to just one platform. This aspect of the play indulges the audience and intentionally makes them a part of the production.

Joe Mazza, Bravelux | Courtesy of the Loyola Department of Fine and Performing Arts Maggie Smith in Loyola DFPA’s “Everybody”

Using a pre-recorded scene between acts, the play utilized a modern presentation of a conversation with one’s conscience. The main character trifled with the question of purpose and self within themselves, symbolizing the daily trials of self love and acceptance.

Actor Duncan Corbin, whose fated role was Everybody Feb. 18, flourished in his challenging role. He was fully immersed into Everybody and had the audience rooting for him. His movements and facial expressions kept viewers on their toes and his demanding acts — such as running only in his underwear around the auditorium — were comedic and vulnerable.

The four actors Mariana Gonzalez, Aman Huda, Rose Ley Hayek and Momina Shahzad all brought their unique skills to their alternating characters. With a plethora of possible combinations of roles, each convinced and taught the audience the ideas and physical personifications of Friendship, Kinship, Stuff and Understanding are all left behind in death. 

On their journey, Everybody learns through Love, played by Ema Kester, that taking things like friends and family to death is selfish and that love for oneself and the love others have for you is what ultimately comes with you to the afterlife. Well, that, and all the bad things done in a lifetime.

Joe Mazza, Bravelux | Courtesy of the Loyola Department of Fine and Performing Arts Carlin Decker, Duncan Corbin, Ema Kester and Mariana Gonzalez in Loyola DFPA’s “Everybody”

Time, played by Wency Hernández Rubio, was another meta concept added to the performance. Time appeared to converse with Death and Understanding — which is an intellectually elaborate concept. It had audience members question how Death, Time and Understanding correlate to Everybody’s, or their, time on earth.

Notable to the performance was the scene of the afterlife. Through skeletons, show-goers saw an exhilarating dance routine with glow-in-the-dark bones and comedic choreography. The routine ended abruptly, symbolizing the seriousness of death. 

Putting the story together like glue, God and Usher (Maggie Smith) drove the ideas of love and selflessness home. Hilarious in her acting, she opened and closed the show with spunk and an overall immersing experience. Her strut up the stair step platform — elevated above everyone — with sunglasses was unforgettable and hysterical.

Through its comedic lens, the show successfully indulged its crowd in laughter and moral dilemmas of self and purpose. Unlike classic plays, “Everybody’s” modern script added a new and unique spin to “The Summoning of Everyman” and this made it more entertaining and insightful.

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