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Friday, 22 February 2013

Everyman - The Yawn of Bagpuss

Sadly I will not be writing about Zebras today.  Future Robert will deal with this.
So, back to The Summoning of Everyman.  I've touched on the opening of the play, the arrival of God - now to Death and some of the other 'characters'.  Because, as this is a morality play, the characters are allegorical.  They represent different elements of man's character, his life, of humanity itself.  So Everyman represents Every Man - or person, as we would say today - rather than an individual.  'He' meets the embodiment of Fellowship - all his friends - and Kinship - all his relations - and even of his Goods - the wealth and possessions he owns.  All these 'people' he asks to come with him as he makes his journey towards death, all forsake him.  You can't take it all with you.  Thus appeareth the moral.
Which makes it all sound terribly dull - but it isn't.  Each character has... character.  So, first off, Everyman meets Death.
Such fun.  Death is great.  He turns up at God's command and generally puts the fear of... well... death... into Everyman.  I've been playing around with how to perform Death, and at first decided that he will be a voice, a disembodied voice that Everyman hears.  So, I've been playing around with microphones, loud hailers and even voice transformers to see what effects work best.  Though I like the slight amplification, I am unsure about changing the pitch of the voice - it's currently sounding more demonic than Deathly.  So, I continue to see what else might work.  Physically he is distorted, spiky - the emphasis is on the bone structure.  And Death smiles.  He smiles a big rictus grin.  Because he doesn't have any flesh, and skulls always grin.
Again, such fun.  And I'm finally books down on Death (I would just like to mention, again, how much I HATE learning lines.  I hate it.  Even when it's Death.) so I'm really getting to play around with my favourite character in the universe.  Because Death always wins.
Having met Death, Everyman is scared witless.  The speech he makes after Death disappears is heartrending.  He despairs.  It is a very similar speech to that of Doctor Faustus, in the play of the same name, by Christopher Marlowe, and I am convinced Kit must have been influenced by Everyman.  There are references to time passing, very similar phrasing - I've wanted to do the two plays back to back for ages.  In fact, we can add this to the list of Seldom Plans, I might actually look to do it, sometime in the future.
Everyman pulls himself back from the brink by remembering his friends - Fellowship - who he's gone out and had fun with throughout his life.  Perhaps they'll go with him?  Fellowship is all hail and hearty, (I've given him a tankard of beer to drink) and would love to help Everyman.  Until he finds out where he's going, at which point he starts using the word 'But' quite a lot.  I'm stretching that 'But', "I'd love to help buuuuu-t", in the way we all are capable of when we try to worm our way out of things.
Next Everyman things to drag a relative along.  Kindred/Cousin are two parts in the original play, but they say similar things so they are but one in mine.  They are really cheerful, really happy people, especially when sending Everyman off to go to his death alone.  It is cheerful betrayal.
Finally, for the first half of the play, Everyman talks with his Goods, his riches, asking if they will go with him.  They will not, if for no other reason, but that his greed in hording his wealth will damn him.  Goods is the embodiment of both greed and sloth.  He is indolent, never moves, doesn't get up.  I've decided that Goods is an evil Bagpuss, mostly yawning as he sits and laughs at Everyman and his problem.  I know, Bagpuss and I have history (see earlier blog), so that is a bit of a joke.  Don't take that too literally.  I won't dress up as Bagpuss or anything.  But the yawn will be there.  The yawn will probably be pure Bagpuss.
Only five weeks or so to go - book those tickets now.  And remember, it is a show where I want you to get involved - nothing scary, just to hold things and maybe move about.  Like in a promenade play, just you get to sit most the time.  Get in touch if you're interest, details below.

Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
The Summoning of Everyman
Adapted and performed by Robert Crighton

The Summoning of Everyman is a powerful morality tale, written in the late medieval period, telling of the struggles for one man, for everyman, to let go of his life.  This interactive performance brings this struggle directly to the audience, asking them to become part of the story, asking them to stand in the footsteps of Fellowship, Good Deeds and even Death himself.  It’s a question that each generation has to answer: can you really take anything with you after death?  Moving, beautiful and thought provoking – ultimately the Summoning comes to Everyone.

Get Involved: we’re looking for a number of audience members to be part of the show – don’t worry this isn’t Pantomime, there are no songs or catchphrases.  Volunteers would be brought on stage and moved by Robert as characters in the story – you get the best seats in the house and a performance that is personally addressed to you.  No acting skills required, just to stand, sit and be yourself, guided by Robert through the story.
If you’re interested then buy your ticket via Ticket Source, then send an email to us at – or call 07704 704 469 for more information.

Performing Wednesday 27th & Thursday 28th March 2013
Show starts 7.30pm, doors open 7pm - Tickets £8, includes refreshment
The Lavenham Guildhall, The Market Square, Lavenham
Box Office: 0844 8700 887 or book online:
(Telephone box office hours 9.00am – 7.00pm Mondays –Fridays
(excluding Bank Holidays) and 9.00am – 5.00pm on Saturdays.)
Box Office Number for bookings only, any general enquiries please call
07704 704 469 or email:

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