Allegorical play inspires students


“Everyman,” the allegorical play performed by the drama club in Anathan Theatre at Franciscan University of Steubenville between April 5 and April 14, inspired its Franciscan students to ask themselves questions about life and death.

“Everyman” is a thought-provocative allegory based on a play that tells the story of the main character Everyman, who represents all people. The play opens as Everyman, played by Gabe Velazquez, finds himself in the terrifying position of being told by Death – a three-person character played by Peter Campagna, Philip Buss and Hope Ellis – that his life would end soon. He has no choice but to begin his journey towards death, so he calls upon the things in life that he assumed would always be there for him.

Worldly Goods, played by Andrew Ward; Fellowship, played by Bridget Anderson and Jessica Andrews; Beauty, played by Abigail Worgul; and Strength, played by Joe Andreola, fail to accompany him through his fatal journey.

He realizes that the one thing that can steer him from eternal damnation is his Good Deeds, acted by Pharyne Stephney, which he has left neglected and weakened by caring about nobody but himself.

When Knowledge, played by Caroline McCaughey, appears and explains Confession (Kit Adderley) and the concept of penance to him, he has a choice to seal his eternal destination forever.

“Everyman” strongly influenced its cast members and viewers. Nathan Slemp, audience member and sophomore at Franciscan, enjoyed both the artistic and moral aspects of the performance.

“I thought that some of the costume and theatric effects used in the play were rather creative, especially with how Death was portrayed,” Slemp said. “The play was very thought-provoking throughout as well; it was an excellent example of the old morality plays.”

Jenni Gray, also a sophomore at Franciscan, said, “The production exceeded expectations. Even with the serious theme of morality which many hold close to their hearts, the cast was able to deliver. The mood the cast was able to create with not only a gothic stain glass background, but also medieval costume and an angelic choir, really ‘set the stage’ for an enjoyable evening.”

Philip Buss, one of the three who represented Death, shared his insider opinion about the play and his role.

“‘Everyman’ is a fantastic representation of what the real meaning of life is and what, as well as who, matters the most,” said Buss. “It brings to light incredibly Catholic themes, while at the same time maintains an overall theme that even a non-Catholic can respect and relate to. It also shows that death can come at any time, which provides incredible incentive to live life to the fullest and best way possible. Being Death has been a fantastic experience and quite beneficial, which is as well due to the fact that I now know how to make my face look like a horrifically shredded mess.”

Franciscan freshman Ari Thatcher commented: “The play was really well done. To my knowledge, there’s only one movie based on this particular play, and it doesn’t do the play justice. Being done by a Catholic college allowed for better interpretation and I thought that they did it very well. Just the whole mood the actors and actresses gave made the play very powerful.”

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