Orlando Pabotoy, director of the PlayMakers' production of "Everybody," noted that the modern version is different in tone from its predecessor.
“The morality play of 'Everyman,' which is Catholic-based, was mostly used for Catholic propaganda,” Pabotoy said.
However, Pabotoy said the Jacob-Jenkins production is more comedic and light-hearted than its source material.
One unique aspect of this production is that there is an element of chance in each show. The cast largely consists of ensemble roles, but each night’s starring role is selected at random between five of the performers.
“The show is set up as a lottery, so every night one person is chosen and gets to be the lead role of the character Everybody for that night,” August said.
August said the cast had to memorize the entire script because any actor could be selected for the starring role.
The cast was selected in June 2019 and began memorizing the script in July. Rehearsals started in late December, and the cast had two 12-hour rehearsals last week.
Pabotoy said the long practices are intense and time-consuming, yet they are another aspect of why he has enjoyed directing this production.
“It has been both an extreme pleasure and a labor of love to work on this piece, and it was emboldened and embedded with joy," Pabotoy said.
Pabotoy said he feels compelled to direct when there is a story to follow and unique elements of storytelling to unite.
“I think directing is a role of service to the storytelling more than anything, and I serve the telling of the story in many different layers," Pabotoy said.
The comedic aspects and writing style of the production also piqued Pabotoy’s interest in directing the show.
“It’s incredibly funny, and there’s improvisation that happens within it, and that’s very different,” Pabotoy said.
August said he found inspiration from family and friends around the holiday season for his role in "Everybody."
“A character like mine is very studious and very intellectual, so I think about my dad who I would say is a bookworm,” August said.
August also said the cohesion and professionalism of the group is unmatched from his past experiences in community theater.
After only two days of going over the script, August said the third day of rehearsals were off-book, and the performers were invested in the production.
“It’s just one of those experiences, like lightning in a bottle that I may never get to experience again,” August said.