A Play for Everybody: a 75th Anniversary Tribute


Marisa Barnard, Staff Writer

The stage is set, the sound of voices fills the air as props are moved around and cameras are positioned properly.

There is a disorder to it, yet it is organized.

We stand around waiting to be needed as microphones are attached to shirts and hair is prodded into place.

I am wearing a long blonde wig, sitting still, as hands scramble to push my dark hair away and get the microphone on.

It is busy, actors talk and laugh with one another. Masks are put into place and the stage is adjusted to accommodate the new style of performing.

We will not have an audience. Instead, there will be cameras. It is a new experience for me, but there is already a sense of comradery and creation in standing on the stage and being present in the room.

The PAC has been hard at work putting together the latest show, a show that I was fortunate enough to be a part of.

That is Everybody.

The story of Everybody is an interesting one and it has a history within Le Moyne College. Back in 1947, when the Boot and Baskin Theater company was formed at Le Moyne, their debut show was a play entitled Everyman.

For those of you who are not familiar with medieval plays, Everyman is a morality play designed to make the audience question their priorities and contemplate the way they are living their lives.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of Le Moyne College, the PAC has decided to once again present this classic tale of morality, except now with a twist.

Everybody is a humorous and modernized adaptation of the classic tale that was nominated for a Pulitzer prize in 2017.

Everybody brings the message of life to a new setting. It tries to answer life’s hardest questions. When we are near the end of our lives, how will we view our time here on earth? When we die what can we bring with us?

The play deals with a lot of complex themes and emotions so I asked a few of the actors and crewmembers what they thought we should take away from the show.

Anna Cornell, or “Love” from Everybody said, “Definitely the final message. It is really clear what it is at the end of the show, though we did it as a comedy. Life is odd, fun, and full of craziness, but at the end of the day, love is what remains. Let go of the negative and don’t live in the past. Put out love how you wish to receive it, though it may be difficult.”

Lauren Regan, Stage Manager for Everybody said, “The main takeaway from the show is to put good into the world, from my point of view. You’re going to do some bad things, you’re human, but when you can, choose good because it’s what you put into the world that matters.”

As seems to be the theme of life in 2021, the impact of COVID-19 has taken its toll on just about everything we do and this includes theater.

With the lack of a live audience, the way that we create and present the show has changed.

Actors are now expected to wear masks on stage and keep a safe distance apart. The number of cast members that can be in a certain room or scene is limited; some scenes have to be filmed separately, and others we can present in small groups.

The impact of the pandemic has changed not only the actor’s experience within the show but also the way that the crew manages production.

Regan said, “With the virtual components of the show and the limited number of cast we can have in the rehearsal spaces at once, it has been very different from a typical show. The responsibilities relating to stage management have all really shifted around, with emphasis and areas of importance changing as the platform has.”

That being said, there were many positive changes as well. Cornell stated that, “For half of the play, we have done it with OBS (which is kind of like Zoom, but with more options to play with) and it has been much harder to maintain that same energy as one would have with a live performance. However, learning how to do something you’ve been doing forever in a different way allows for learning and growth. THAT is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. If it wasn’t for this wacky time, we all would not have been able to experience something new.”

The lack of a live audience has given us all the opportunity to learn more about filmmaking and acting in front of a camera. There is something unique and cool about performing for a camera and knowing that your audience is everywhere.

It is a learning experience too, there are times when it is hard to remember to face the direction of the camera, or stand in the right spot to make sure I am in the frame.

It is fun to watch the clips of the show before they are pieced together and to look on the monitors and see your face staring back. There is just something magical about filmmaking and the pandemic has given us all the opportunity to explore this new ocean of possibility.

Creatively, the production team is using editing in new ways to enhance the show that wouldn’t have been possible in a live setting. Green screens, sound effects, cuts, transitions, you name it; this new frontier has made for a visually appealing and interesting show.

What you put into something is what you get out of it, and this quote has rung true throughout the production of Everybody. Assistant Stage Manager Meghan Guittar said, “My favorite part of the play has been learning new skills. This is my first time working in stage management rather than acting so I’ve gotten to experience a whole new side of theatre. I’m so thankful to get this opportunity to grow as a theatre maker and work with my friends!”

Despite the new limitations, our cast and crew’s dedication and positivity have given the show a great foundation.

Everybody is many things and has elements for, well, everybody. Whether you enjoy a show that leaves you thinking, a witty comedy or a drama, Everybody truly has it all.

Everybody premieres March 13th, in the Grewen Auditorium and will have a live stream event the following day so be sure to check it out and email [email protected] for more information.