Everybody: A Morality Play for Today


Victoria Kellogg, Assistant Arts and Leisure Editor

Le Moyne College’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Boot and Buskin Theatre Club presented Everybody, directed by Karel Blakeley, Saturday evening in the Grewen Auditorium. This event was a one-of-a-kind performance that included heartfelt speeches, staff and students dressed to the nines, and, of course, a quirky morality film like no other.

As a 75th Anniversary tribute to the college, Everybody is an adaptation of Everyman, which was the first play presented by the Boot and Buskin Guild after it was formed here at Le Moyne in 1947. 

Striking a compromise between a love of the arts and COVID-19 restrictions, the Le Moyne College Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Boot and Buskin Theatre Club took an alternate approach to live theatre by transforming this medieval play into a film for all to watch. For the actors, performing to a camera lens is much different than performing on stage, but they are adaptable by nature of the craft.

Director Karel Blakeley shared with the audience how much he likes ‘improv’ in theatre. In his opening speech, he reflected that the show was very much a ‘yes and…” kind of production, mirroring the approach taken in improv. Blakeley followed up by saying “this show is very much like that.” 

This powerful moment in his speech speaks to the position that students and staff are in due to COVID—how we all must never lose or give up on our passions, despite the restrictions we face, both on and off campus. 

Everybody has a cast of 24 members, starring Patrick Burke as “Everybody.” The peculiarity of the names of the characters gave the audience a true understanding of the play’s morality. Which in this case is how one must examine their life when presented with sudden death.

The main character, Everybody, gets asked by Death, played by Michael Coyle, to go to the afterlife to give a presentation to God (Alyssa Goudy) to reflect on his own life. Like most typical young adults who would be terrified of what that entails, Everybody asked companions: Friendship (Megan Pieczonka), Cousin (Kieth Cullen), Kinship (Stephanie O’Brien), Stuff (Jason Pope-Bayne), and lastly Little Girl/Time (Andi Piston) to join him on this journey. All of them saying no based on the fear of their own lives. The characters’ names relate to their relationship to life and to Everybody.

As the film progresses, Everybody feels lonely but more importantly, his time is running out. He meets Love (Anna Cornell) who tells him that she will go with him on this journey. Feeling both grateful and ‘loved,’ other characters—Understanding (Nikita Sharkey), Strength (Kyle Tantillo), Senses (Emily Sulger), Beauty (Marisa Barnard), and Mind (Philip Lohrfink)—arrive and tell Everybody they would be willing to go on this eccentric journey.

But as the film comes to an end, the characters Strength, Senses, Beauty, and Mind all leave Everybody behind. Understanding, wanting to join Everybody, decides against it so that he can ‘babysit’ the other characters since they are so childish. Leaving with Love, Everybody slowly gets into his grave to pass away before this inevitable tragedy happens. Evil (Boris Cortes) gets into the grave alongside Everybody to help him reflect on all the poor things he has done in his life.

 As the virtual curtains begin to close, the audience is left with nothing but a moral. “At the end of life, the only things you leave with are love and what bad things you have done,” stated Anna Cornell, the actress who played Love. 

As the credits begin to roll down the screen, cheers and claps fill the room, proving that despite COVID-19 restrictions, anything is possible. But most importantly, the love of the arts will never die.