Everyman: Morality Play

Is There Any Place for Everyman in the 21st Century? College

Everyman provides the perfect example of why allegory must be approached carefully in order to make an impact; a story with a powerful message is very often dependent upon timing. The timing of a play about a devastating plague sweeping across Europe would have had far more impact during the Middle Ages than it would now. Allegorical drama by definition should be less dependent upon timing than dramatic interpretations of specific events situated within a historical context. Stripped down to the very basics—the most elemental of fundamental character—and divorced from any precise historical context, Everyman should be expected to maintain a relatively stable and predictable impact on audiences regardless of whether performed for Medieval audiences, Renaissance audiences or 21st century audiences. What a 21st century introduction to Everyman reveals, however, is that allegory can become just as much a prisoner to context as more direct individualized subjects.

Perhaps, the fault lies not with the creation, but the interpretation. Perhaps a more innovative and artistically daring production aesthetic would be enough to rip Everyman from its natural place in the order as a representative of fundamentalist Catholic theology to make...

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