EVERYMAN and EVERYBODY
by (Anonymous) and
Brendan Jacobs-Jenkins

Plot Sumary for the classic text EVERYMAN:

God is not happy that his human creations are not following the rules he set down so he decides to send Death to fetch Everyman and tell him that it is time for him to die and make a full accounting of his life. When Death goes to Everyman and tells him this, Everyman is understandably rattled. Everyman says that he is not ready to make such a reckoning; he tries to bribe death and begs for more time. Death laughs those things off, but he does say that Everyman can bring someone on this journey with him if anyone would be willing.

 

The first person that Everyman asks to accompany him is his dear friend, Fellowship. When he first sees Everyman, Fellowship goes on at length about how he loves his friend and how he would do anything for him. However, when Everyman tells him that he has to go die and make a full account of his life to God and asks Fellowship to go with him, Fellowship says he will not go and departs as fast as he can.

Everyman is shocked and saddened that his friend would not go with him but he decides he should try his family. Cousin and Kindred show up and, like Fellowship before them, swear that they would do anything to help their dear Everyman. And, as before, when Everyman says that he needs them to go with him into death and stand by him while he makes a reckoning of his life before God, they come up with a variety of excuses as to why they cannot go with him (Cousin can't go because she has a cramp in her toe).

Everyman is having a hard time with what he sees as his friends and family abandoning him in his hour of need. He decides that all his life he has loved his riches and the many things he's owned that have given him pleasure. He calls on the next character, his Goods, to come to him. Goods can tell that Everyman is upset and he thinks that he can sooth him, but when Everyman asks him to go into the grave with him not only does Goods refuse, but he says that his "condition is man's soul to kill." He says that people who are moderate in their attachment to material goods do ok, but that he corrupts many and for every one person who's soul does well, he condemns 1000 to hell.

Everyman is greatly saddened to be abandoned and betrayed (as he sees it) by all the things he loved so well in life. It is at this point that he thinks about his Good Deeds and wonders if she will go with him. [editor's note: I am using the pronouns from the Medieval text] Good Deeds is too weak to move since Everyman has spent most of his life neglecting her. Good Deeds says that she would go with Everyman into the grave but that at the moment she is too weak to move. When Everyman asks if there's anything he can do to help her, she suggests talking to her sister Knowledge. Knowledge takes Everyman to Confession, who says that Everyman must do some penance to redeem himself and get Good Deeds off the ground. The penance is to scourge himself; Confession tells Everyman that because Jesus had to be whipped painfully before his crucifixion, so to must Everyman whip himself. Which he does, in the name of the Holy Trinity.

After the self-flagellation, Good Deeds finds she can walk and able to join Everyman on his journey. Knowledge gives Everyman a garment of sorrow and they are ready to leave for his death and judgment. Before they go, they are joined by Strength, Beauty, Discretion, and the Five Wits who are there to help Everyman on his pilgrimage. They each -- like Kindred, Cousin, and Fellowship -- pledge to go anywhere with Everyman. Knowledge says that first Everyman must go to a Priest for his last rites. 

When Everyman returns from seeing the Priest and receiving the sacrament, he is so weak he can barely walk; he asks for help getting into the grave. At this point Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and the Five Wits all balk and -- like Kindred, Cousin, and Fellowship -- abandon Everyman to die without them. Once again Everyman is greatly upset and wails that all have forsaken him; but Good Deeds is still there. Knowledge is also there, though she cannot join them in the grave. She watches the two go into their grave then says she can hear angels singing as Good Deeds made sure that Everyman was sent to Heaven.

At the very end an Angel does come in to announce that Everyman's singular virtue granted him entrance to Heaven. And finally a Doctor comes out to remind the audience that Death will come for them soon and that Beauty, Strength, Discretion, their Five Wits, their Goods, their Cousin, Kindred and Fellowship will all abandon them when it comes time to make their final reckoning with God. That it is only the Good Deeds the audience chooses to engage in that will go with them into the afterlife, so they need to focus on that while there is still time.

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Episode Facts

Episode: 2.4

Date Aired: November 8, 2021

TeamJennifer, Ricardo, and Sam

Analysis Technique: Dramaturgy

Community Voices: Isabell Krajl, Co-Artistic Director of Theater Gigante

To see the trailer, click here

Plot Sumary for the contemporary text EVERYBODY:

The action takes ...