Every(man) examines the themes of life


Photo Illustration: Evelyn Lillemoe

US Theater director stands in an illustration from Every(man), the play he will direct this fall.

US Theater Director Eric Severson announced the cast for the fall play on Monday.

Every(man), a classic fifteenth century morality tale with a modern twist was selected for a multitude of reasons, but it’s largely due to the self-reflection that the play’s content induces in its audience. Every(man) deals with themes of life and death, as well as looking at how humans treat each other and the world that we live in.

“The premise is that Death is following every man, and every man is attempting to find anyone to go with them to make their reckoning before god. The kind of overarching theme is getting us to look at our lives, and ideally to look at our lives before we get to the end of life to think about the choices that we’ve made. What was once church propaganda and had been incredibly religious, Carol Ann Duffy [the play’s adaptor] has with this new adaptation created a really poetic work but something that is also a lot more secular and is looking at and exploring the myopic materialism that we have as a world right now, how we treat mistreat ourselves and others as well as the environment,” Severson said.

The kind of overarching theme is getting us to look at our lives, and ideally to look at our lives before we get to the end of life to think about the choices that we’ve made.”

— Eric Severson

Every(man) is also unique because its characters do not take the form of regular humans, and are instead specific traits that the actors have to embody.  

“All of the characters are allegorical, so the characters are ‘everyman’ and ‘everyman’ doesn’t have to be gendered as a man, though in its original inception it was but it doesn’t have to be. God, Death, Knowledge, Good Deeds, Beauty, Strength…all of these things are different characters. To me it’s going to be a really exciting and fun way to approach it with the student performers and really thinking, how do you create a character out of an idea?” he said.

Another reason for choosing to the play has to do with how well it fits with past Fall Play selections. Severson attempts to create a mix of different types of play, andEvery(man) is unique in that it is both classic and contemporary in its own way.

Every(man) to me adds another piece of that. It’s an adaptation of classic literary text. I just think of where we are as a world right now and the students that I will actively work with in the theater department are often very vocal about things that they are frustrated about in our world, and the connection to how we treat the environment and how we treat each other and a little self reflective stuff that I see within this text I think particularly the seniors but also the sophomores and juniors and freshman will rally around that,” he said.

Severson hopes that the compelling content of this year’s play will draw big audience. The Fall Play performs Nov. 16 and 17 in the Huss Center for the Performing Arts.

Every(man) Cast list

*Every(man) – Max Moen, Elise Parsons

God/Good Deeds – Gemma Yoo

Death –  Ben Atmore

Fellowship – Chloe Morse

Knowledge – Ethan Asis

Sister – Nitya Thakkar

Mother – Savita Avasthi-Yopp

Father – Henry Vlietstra

Goods – Rachael Johnson

Every(boy) – Val Chafee

Senses & Wits:

Strength/Weather Reporter – Tina Wilkens

Beauty/Weather Reporter – Peter Michel

Sound/Weather Reporter – Isobel Alm

Sight/Weather Reporter – Maren Ostrem

Touch/Weather Reporter – Nathan Forsberg

Taste/Weather Reporter – Anja Trierweiler

Smell/Goods Ensemble – Evelyn Lillemoe

Vanity/Goods Ensemble – Gavin Kimmel

Discretion/Goods Ensemble – Adrienne Gaylord

Insecurity/Goods Ensemble – Gracie Tilney-Kaemer

Passion/Goods Ensemble – Grace Krasny

Pleasure/Goods Ensemble – Rylan Hefner

Ensemble: Davyd Barchuk, Annika Brelsford, Spencer Burris-Brown, Ellie Dawson-Moore, Rebecca Ebert, Olivia Fenlon, Sevy Hayes, Per Johnson, Jay Jones, Caroline Menard, Griffin Moore, Ellie Murphy, Eleanor Smith , Sam Zelazo