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‘Everyman’ to bring messages about morality, God, Death to modern audiences Thursday

Someday, everyone will have to face the decisions they’ve made and the ramifications thereof.

The newest play at Theatre on the Side, opening tomorrow night, explores that heavy line of thought.

“Everyman,” a morality play written by an anonymous monk in the 15th century, was adapted and directed by Neil Vanderpool, associate professor of communication and dramatic arts. He said the Catholic Church was trying to teach society about how to live life in a way that would please God. He said “Everyman” has a strong message for all times.

If you go…
• What: “Everyman,” a play
• When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday
• Where: Moore Hall’s Theatre on the Side
• How much; $5 for students, $7 general admission

“I like taking classic literature and being able to bring it to a contemporary audience,” Vanderpool said. “It’s very symbolic and expressionistic, making it very avant-garde in nature.”

“Everyman” has an allegorical storyline wherein the titular character, an everyman, is called by Death to come before God to account for his actions. The play follows him as he seeks assistance from other symbolic characters, such as Fellowship and Goods, but in the end, he must rely on Good Deeds to gain his redemption.

“When you die, what do you take with you?” Vanderpool said. “That’s what this play is about.”

Utica junior Aaron Picket plays Everyman. It is his third play at Central Michigan University, where he has worked both on stage and behind the scenes.

“Definitely on the stage is a lot of thought on just yourself and your character,” Picket said. “I love it but at the same time, it’s also fun taking a step back and looking at the ensemble as a whole.”

Picket’s character has the majority of the dialogue and is on stage for three-quarters of the production. He represents how moral choice is made and stands in as the face of all mankind. He said it was a challenge.

“I want the audience to be seen as themselves,” he said. “It’s a lot more playing off the emotions rather than playing the character.”

“Everyman” involves a number of dances, battles and chanting choral music. Waterford senior Maegan Burnell is the production’s lighting designer and master electrician. She is in charge of 50 stage lights, four of which are intelligent lights which can move and display six different shades of colors as well as images. Burnell said it was tough to work with such a large display.

“The most challenging part is figuring out how to work the intelligent lights because I’ve never used them,” she said. “Sometimes I want to be smarter than the instruments and it’s not very easy.”

Burnell worked as a stage manager for CMU’s “The Chicago Gypsies” and “Into The Woods.” She said she is especially proud of “Everyman” and is expecting it be a big hit.

University Theatre’s performance of “Everyman” will open in the Theatre on the Side in Moore Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays over the next two weeks. Tickets are on sale at the box office costing $5 for students and $7 for the public.

“People are going to be tremendously entertained,” Vanderpool said. “They’ve never seen anything like this before.”

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