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Professor Updates Classic Morality Play

By Amanda Morad | February 21, 2013

Everywoman opens on the Regent stage Friday, Feb. 22.
Photo courtesy of the School of Communication & the Arts

Regent University's resident playwright, Gillette Elvgren, has again created a masterful play with his modern retelling of the classic morality tale, Everyman. Everywoman opens on the Regent stage on Friday, Feb. 22.

Confronted with the character of death, talk show host Eva Bas encounters the fight of her life as she is forced to examine the choices she's made. The play updates the late 15th-century English allegory, which personifies virtues and vices in a plainly dramatized sermon of sorts, and places it in the fast-paced 21st-century world of broadcast television.

"There's something about the search for immortality that prompted the original play Everyman to be written," said Elvgren, also the play's director. "It examines how we as a culture view and face death. We go to extraordinary lengths to try to avoid or deny it."

Everywoman runs Feb. 22-24 and Feb. 28 - March 3 in the Studio Theatre, located in Regent's Performing Arts Center. Afternoon and evening show times are available.

Purchase tickets through the Box Office.

Elvgren's choice to modernize Everyman stems from his view of contemporary information. "We're inundated with words and language and almost too much information," he said. "I wanted to create a character who represents that. Eva goes through the process of stripping herself of the noise of contemporary culture."

A serious subject, no doubt, but Elvgren chose humor to make his point. "Death rides up on a motorcycle wearing a helmet and chains and says, 'Your time is up; get your house in order.' That creates right there the striking reality of the piece," he described.

The show features moments of standup comedy, courtroom drama, rap and blues music, and even a clown show. "I'm trying to strike visual images that will alarm and captivate and challenge expectations," he said.

Elvgren's target audience is faith-based, as the play creates theatrical metaphors that challenge Christians to look at culture and religion differently. "As a Christian artist, I'm always challenged to see what metaphors and images and actions I can come up with that are going to make the audience see themselves or get outraged in a way they haven't before," he explained.

Purchase tickets to Everywoman.

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