Department of Theatre and Media Arts Tackles Meaning of Life in ‘Everyone’

Livestreamed production is based on well-known medieval play

Livestreamed performances March 11-13, 7:30 p.m.

The art of theatre often serves as a mirror for the world around us, and that analogy holds true for “Everyone,” the latest offering from the BYU Department of Theatre and Media Arts.

“Everyone” is a modern-day take on the 15th century morality play “Everyman,” one of the first English language plays ever recorded. TMA faculty member Megan Sanborn Jones directs the production, with an adaptation by senior playwriting student Ty Hawton.

The story explores the concepts of sin and virtue through the eyes of the character Everyone, who is summoned by Death for a final reckoning when the time comes to leave the mortal world. A series of flashbacks in the form of short films explores Everyone’s life and relationships, offering a gentle nudge for audiences to ponder what’s most important in this one precious life we’ve been given.

“Our focus with the production is on the small kindnesses that are the basis of a life of charity, which is the thing that matters most,” said Sanborn. Behind the scenes, cast members use an online forum to share service opportunities with each other. They are also encouraged to participate in weekly Charity Challenges, such as reaching out to a far-away friend or family member.

“When we read facts from a history book, the people feel distant,” said dramaturg Lillian Bills. “But in ‘Everyman’ and ‘Everyone’ we see that the fear of death, broken relationships and mistakes we make are the same then and now. We’ve been struggling with the same issues for over 500 years. What I love about this production is that it has allowed me to see how similar humanity is across time.”

The play’s all-female cast offers a fresh perspective on age-old questions surrounding the meaning and purpose of life. Performances will be streamed live for viewers March 11, 12 and 13.