Today@Sam Article

Actors Perform As Everybody In 'Everybody'

Oct. 17, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Laura Avery


Photo credit: Brandon Willis.

Can actors play ideas? They do in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Everybody, playing at Sam Houston State University’s Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre’s Showcase Theatre Oct. 23-26, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and a Saturday matinee performance at 2:00 p.m. Everybody is directed by Patrick Pearson.

A contemporary twist on a classic, Everybody takes the 15th-century morality play Everyman on a journey through modern day sensibilities exploring life’s greatest mystery – the meaning of living. The ensemble of actors portray personified concepts or ideas like "friendship," "understanding," and "strength." A random, live lottery mid-show determines which roles each actor will portray. This extraordinary experiment is a thrilling testament to the power of live theatre. There are 120 possible combinations of actors and roles, so it’s never the same show! This is one of the things that intrigued director, Patrick Pearson about the show.

“We are presenting a show where the actors have to learn so many roles, and the show is chosen by chance in a lottery every night,” Pearson said. “The idea of a lottery is a terrific metaphor for the journey of life itself. We don’t always know what lies ahead, and the actors, even though they know the parts, still get to experience that adrenaline rush of discovering in the moment what their journey will be that performance.”

The change of title from Everyman to the more inclusionary Everybody hints at the manner in which Jacobs-Jenkins retrofits the play for modern consumption. He removes the parts about Catholic confession and penance, but adds references to capitalism and social media, explicitly showing how the themes of the play relate to our lives. The storytellers seem to purposefully seek out an excuse to be offended and then destroy the person who originated that offense, almost as a form of entertainment. In the age of Facebook flame wars, these examples of wrath feel uncomfortably on point. Read more about the show on our production webpage:

A finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, Everybody is, “theatre rather unlike anything you might have seen…unusual, unconventional and eye-opening… with equal emotional heft; but it is not only provocative and involving, but it is also funny. Wildly funny, in fact.” —Huffington Post

For ticket information, contact the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 936.294.2339 or visit to purchase your tickets online. Tickets are $12 if purchased in advance, $15 at the door. SHSU Students can obtain one free ticket the week of the show.

The Showcase Theatre is located in the University Theatre Center at 1740 Bobby K. Marks Drive and 17th street between the Newton Gresham Library and the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

For interviews, please contact Patrick Pearson at . 

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