New play “Everybody” has storied history and stellar characters

Photo courtesy of Cat Sopko.

“Everybody” is a morality play written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. It is a modern adaptation of the first-ever recorded play in the English language, “Everyman.” There were a couple of changes from the original play, but the plot remains the same. 

The story follows Everybody, the main character, asking Friendship, Kinship, Cousin and Stuff to accompany them as they die. Its central theme is to live life to the fullest with your friends and family because death will inevitably be lonely. 

Despite this resounding theme, it is relatively light and does not come off as too depressing.

“Everybody” is unique because the actors – each considered a Somebody – find out who they are playing at the beginning of the performance. There is a lottery in one of the first scenes where the actors are picked at random for which character they will play that show. 

This means that each main cast member must memorize the entire script and be prepared to play any role on the spot. The significance behind the lottery is to symbolize the randomness of death, which is the show's central theme. 

Rylie Klain, a freshman journalism major and theater minor, plays a Somebody. Her favorite character to play is Friendship because they are outgoing. 

“Although they may seem like a fake friend, they are always there for Everybody in the play,” Klain said. “They might seem manipulative, but they are good friends." 

Each character has a very in-depth personality. Klain also shared that Friendship is unlike her own personality, which made the character so fun to play.

Klain also notes how it was fun to work with people outside of the theater world. This is because students do not need to be a theater major or minor in order to audition for Ramapos productions. 

Frank Ruggiero, a freshman theater major, also said their favorite character is either Friendship or Stuff, because they are "so relatable.”

Besides the unique lottery, “Everybody” has various components that make the show one you do not want to miss. There are outstanding prop designs for different characters, beautiful music compositions, impressive crew work and a fantastic dance scene. 

The dance incorporates skeletal movements, classical ballroom dancing and an all-out hip-hop/modern dance. It is definitely a highlight in the play, and the impressive choreography makes the audience feel blown away. 

Dancers from across Ramapo’s community were involved in the play's elaborate dance scene. This, again, shows how open the productions are for everyone at Ramapo. 

With auditions and rehearsals running all the way back to early December, it is clear to say that the cast and crew have perfected every component of the play. Their hard work has paid off in a unique, memorable experience that people cannot miss seeing.