Hope College Theatre will present the medieval morality play "Everyman" on Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 3-5, in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
Curtain time is 8 p.m. The running time of the performances will be approximately one hour.
"'Everyman' is probably the finest and the best surviving morality play of the Middle Ages," said John Tammi, professor of theatre and the production's director. "The hallmark of this dramatic genre is the use of allegory, which is employed to dramatize the moral struggle thought by medieval Christianity to be universal for every individual."
Written near the end of the 15th century, several versions existed in a number of countries. The Hope production is based on a translation of a Flemish or Dutch play, "Elckerlijk," first printed in 1495. That play, however, may in turn have been a translation of an earlier English version.
The play portrays a complacent Everyman who is informed by Death of his approaching end. As he seeks to find friends to accompany him on his final journey, he looks to Fellowship, his Kindred and Goods; they all desert him, one by one. Even his personal attributes (Strength, Discretion, Beauty, Five Wits and Knowledge) leave him. The only one who is willing to stay by him to the end is Good Deeds. Everyman progresses from despair and fear of death before reaching an acceptance of his fate and, finally, redemption.
Tammi noted that he rediscovered the beauty and grace of the play while teaching it in a theatre history class two years ago.
"I knew the play and even performed in a production of it when I was in college," he said. "But reading it anew, and now at a somewhat advanced age, I saw the power and elegance in its sophisticated use of allegorical devices to convey the journey of life. In some ways I saw it as being quite modern."
According to Tammi, the students in that class responded positively to the play as well. One of them, Patrick Glaub, a senior from Plymouth, Ind., had such a strong vision for a potential production that he was invited to serve as dramaturg on the current production. As dramaturg, Glaub is doing research to inform the cast and affect the production choices being made. He is also playing the role of Doctor.
The all-student cast, in addition to Glaub, includes: Patrick Kearney, senior from Clinton Township, as Everyman; Divya Ganta, a sophomore from the Sultanate of Oman, as Adonai; Rebekah Oegema, a junior from Lawton, as Death; Jared Abram DeBacker, a sophomore from Jonesville, as Fellowship; Keith Janofski, a sophomore from Marquette, as Kindred; David Paarlberg, a freshman from Glen Rock, N.J., as Cousin; and Olim Alimov, a sophomore from Yonkers, N.Y., as Goods.
Also: Michaun Elise Burton, a junior from Gahanna, Ohio, as Good Deeds; Megan Marie Jewell, a junior from Brighton, as Knowledge; Matt Schwabauer, a freshman from Lakehurst, N.J., as Confession; Meaghan Elliott, a sophomore from Brighton, as Strength; Bridget Chervenka, a sophomore from Grand Rapids, as Discretion; Carolyn Fields, a freshman from Naperville, Ill., as Beauty; Kristin Dowedite, a junior from Livonia, as Five-Wits; Kat Ramsey, a freshman from Kalamazoo, as Messenger; Rachel Hutt, a sophomore from Marion, N.Y., as Angel.
Other students involved in significant capacities include: Elizabeth Sturrus, a senior from Grand Rapids, assistant director; Heather Wiegand, a senior from Hudsonville, stage manager; Micah Maatman, a junior from Kalamazoo, scenic designer; Ryan Graves, a senior from Greencastle, Ind., lighting designer; Abigail Youngerman, a sophomore from Royal Oak, co-costume designer; Rachel Jamieson, a sophomore from West Bloomfield, scenic artist and properties assistant.
Theatre faculty member Michelle Bombe is mentoring Youngerman, and is co-costume designer. Erik Alberg, technical director for the performing arts at Hope, is in charge of sound design. Todd Engle, visiting instructor and scenic designer, is mentoring Maatman and is designing properties.
Tickets cost $7 for regular admission and $4 for senior citizens and students, are are on sale in the DeWitt Center box office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (616) 395-7890.
The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.