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Centuries ago, an anonymous author penned the morality play “Everyman.’’ And in 2021, a cast of Mississippi College students will bring the timeless production to life with a new twist.
Directed by professor Phyllis Seawright, the MC Department of Communication production is booked for the Lions Club Park Pavilion in Clinton March 26-27. The show begins at 6 p.m., and the public is invited. Admission is free.
Written about 1500, the play features a central theme. “The main message of the show is to get ready for heaven,” Seawright says. “So it is a Gospel message.”
The first performance was noted in 1510. Like John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” the play uses allegorical characters to examine the question of Christian salvation and what man must do to attain it. There are characters with names like Death, Fellowship, Angel, God, Beauty, Confession, and Strength in the original.
One thing hasn’t changed from 1500. What is inevitable is that everybody on Earth dies at some point. “Everyman is not ready, so he’s got to clean up his act, plus find a friend to make the journey to the grave,” Seawright said.
Mississippi College students will bring comedic scenes to the production. Modern language will be added to the script, too. The show’s title will be “Everyman: The Reality Show.”
There will be two MC student co-hosts to guide audiences along the way, from one scene to the next. There will be references to popular TV reality shows in the hour-long production.
“We all watch some kind of reality show at some point, whether we think about it that way or not,” says Seawright, an MC communication professor from Brandon.
Seawright is working with a talented cast and superb student director: Cami Phillips. She’s a history major from Montgomery, Alabama.
With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, health protocols will be strictly followed for audience members. Social distancing and masks are all part of the effort to keep people safe.
If the weather turns bad, the cast will take the production to Mississippi College’s Learning Resource Center TV studio. The show in the Leland Speed Library will be filmed and posted on the Communication Department’s Facebook pages. Only invited guests will be allowed if the event moves to campus.
Seawright is thankful to city officials for finding a nice outdoor venue for the modern production. “Main Street Clinton invited us to use the new Lions Club Park Pavilion,” Seawright said. “So we will hope for that.”