William Inge Memorial Theatre
University of Kansas


 

About the play: Random is not random. Chance is not by chance.

 

These themes are explored in this modern adaptation of the 15th century morality play.

 

Each night the audience will vote on which member of an ensemble cast will face Death and who will play the people, things, and morals of which their life (was) comprised.

 

With quick, offbeat humor and contemporary dialogue, the play shines a spotlight on that terrifying, illusive, question that we have all had to face, especially in the last few years: what would happened if Death called? In this journey through the meaning of life, we are asked to reflect on love, friendship, materialism, religion, and regret.

Article about the play published in the University Daily Kansan.

Everybody_1920x1080.png

YOU decide who plays the lead role: Everybody

The play script specifies that the central roles in the play be decided by lottery every night, in “an attempt to more closely thematize the randomness of death while also destabilizing your preconceived notions about identity.” In our production, we are looking beyond the randomness of death, to the systemic nature of who dies, when. Living through a global pandemic, immigration crisis, and witnessing the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement have laid bare the inequalities that mean that while death is the great equalizer, it does not claim us equally. Reflecting this, in our production YOU, the audience, will vote each night on which of our brilliant member of our company of actors will play the lead role of Everybody. The other four actors will be assigned different roles based on who is voted Everybody. Voting will only happen in the theatre in the half hour leading up to each performance, and for the first few minutes of the show, but to prepare, you can check out our remarkable company below:

Vote for Diego - he's so fuego.jpg

Diego Rivera

Diego is a Senior Theatre Studies Major. His KU credits include AirnessIn the Blood, Changemakers, and Musings of Fire.

Make America Slay Again.jpg

Jayden Warf

Jayden is a Freshman Theatre Studies Major. This is their KU debut. They hail from Virginia.

Lauren is Boss.jpg

Lauren K Smith

Lauren is a Senior Theatre Studies Major. Her KU credits include Airness, Measure for Measure and Changemakers.

Zoe - It's a Mindset.jpg

Zoe Arp

Zoe is a Freshman Political Science Major. This is her KU debut. She graduated from Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park.

The Inspired Choice.jpg

ShonMichael Anderson

ShonMichael is a Freshman Theatre Studies Major. This is his KU debut. He graduated from Northeast Magnet Highschool in Witchita.

PLAYED EVERYBODY

- OPENING NIGHT

PLAYED EVERYBODY

- SECOND NIGHT

Voting enabled
15 minutes to showtime!

PLAYED EVERYBODY

- SUNDAY MATINEE

PLAYED EVERYBODY

- TUESDAY NIGHT

Our on-stage memorial

The Covid-19 pandemic took millions. It also robbed many of us of our chance to say real good-byes to those lost, either from the disease directly, or from other causes. This play deals with the suddenness and unexpected nature of death in a manner both reverent and full of levity. As we collectively move on with our lives, honoring those we have lost during this period is critical to our healing. This play provides one such opportunity. The stage contains pictures of loved ones who left this plane during the last few years. Theses images and names and words were submitted by members of the cast, design team, and audience. 

The other blocks have write-ups of people's answer to the question: "What do you want to do before you die?" YOU are welcome to add to the set on stage before the show! There are pens provided. Share your answer.

Everybody Set Image.png

Content "Warning"/Useful Info:

This play will discuss the topic of Death extensively. It will honor those who have passed, and seeks to create a space for healing as we all reel from the experience of a global pandemic. There will be no realistic depictions of death/dying/suffering. 

 

Audience interaction will be encouraged, though not required.

 

Subtitles for all spoken word will be provided.

The theatre will not include any excessively loud noises, flashing lights, or blackouts. Flexible seating for different body types will be provided. The theatre is accessible for those with mobility impairments.

There may be partial/full nudity.

The play contains significant swearing.

IMG_0478.jpeg
IMG_0593.HEIC

 

Our lives, our deaths, and our fates inextricably influence the lives, deaths, and fates of every other person, though many operate with the assumption that their Selves are wholly separate from the world in which we live, and the people with whom we share it. Everything informs everything; this sentiment is what’s driven my inquiry into Everybody since the beginning, and has guided the creation of this lobby installation. I’ve sought to explore our tendency, as humans, to remove ourselves from our circumstances–the ones we’ve been born into, the ones we’re in now, and the ones we pursue–and instead try to make sense of things with the false notion that we’re disconnected from it all.

The installation is created from the very things which clutter our lives and blind us from truly seeing how connected our lifetimes are: books, articles, scripts, clothes, bills, receipts, products, advertisements, homework, artwork, and other ephemera which preoccupies our minds every single day. From the right (or, entering the theatre), ‘EVERYBODY,’ in full-color, can be seen clearly against the mess of white and black. But as the viewer walks onward, more and more color appears, and it becomes more difficult to discern ‘EVERYBODY’ from the context in which it stands, until finally, the letters totally dissolve into the scheme. This vantage, of ‘EVERYBODY’ camouflaged among the world of hues, is what viewers see after exiting the performance, and depicts the inseparability of ourselves and our actions from society. However, this realization–that there’s more than just the single self, much like in the teachings of Buddhism at the core of Everybody–is not to be mourned, but to be celebrated beyond comparison. This installation also provides a commentary regarding whiteness in America. Our country, whether looking at the words in our legislation, the infrastructure of our cities, or the language we normalize, is one founded in and still undeniably tied to white supremacy and colonialism. Choosing to see oneself as independent from these influences, to see racism only in the overt and explicit, is to be ignorant of the ways oppression is woven into the fibers of our upbringings. Alternatively, by being mindful of the ways we influence and are influenced, we can, as Jacobs-Jenkins puts it, “Lead with our Understanding. You know: just being nice to each other.”

Created by dramaturg Brad Mathewson

Artist’s Statement: Seeing EVERYBODY

Learn more!
External links about the play and playwright Brendan Jacobs-Jankins