by Carol Ann Duffy
2018 - CU Boulder University Theatre
“Religion is a man-made thing. It too will pass.”
What happens when we stop believing in something beyond ourselves? How will we account for our lives, our daily actions, when we reach the end? Everyman, originally created in the late-middle-ages, served as a type of theatrical cautioning during a time when the seeds of doubt were sown into the tenets of liberal humanism. In the following five-hundred or so years a belief in something larger than us has been replaced with rampant individualism, materialism, and a belief in all things consumable.
Our Everyman lives the good life; has all the friends he could want, all the toys he can purchase, and all the freedom to do whatever he wishes. Sounds like the American dream. But in the blink of an eye that freedom comes crashing to the ground. At the moment of death, he must come to a Reckoning to explain the purpose of a life spent only concerned with self-worth. Is a god necessary in an age when responsibility to the welfare of anyone other than our selves ceases to exists? This question is at the heart of Carol Ann Duffy’s new adaptation of Everyman; it is a question we’ve expanded on here. Maybe we no longer need religion but we do require a commitment to something bigger: community, the planet, society, etc.
Playing off the theme of individuality at a cost, we decided to emphasize the use of digital technology and social media in our concept. The age of the smartphone, reality television, and constant connectivity turns our gadgets into the omnipresent eye looking down on us every day. We project ourselves into the digital sphere to prove we exist. The result, our own image becomes the primary source we live our lives for. Our concept is not meant as a lecture; this is the culture we live in and our devices are not going away. We simply hope to help us all remember what exists beyond the screen and consider how we are connected not only digitally but as members in this great interconnected network we call humanity.