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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Everyman - Opening Speech

Been playing around with a new microphone and have produced this little recording of the opening speech from Everyman.  A little taster, as it were.

listen to ‘The Summoning of Everyman - Messenger’ on Audioboo

BEWARE SPOILERS, IF YOU ARE COMING TO THE SHOW, (BOOK TICKETS HERE) THEN STOP READING.  Well, it's two weeks to go, and rehearsals are hotting up... or they would if it would stop snowing.  My rehearsal space has primitive heating and I think bits of me may drop off if the temperature doesn't increase soon.  (No, not that bit... it's not that kind of show!)
I am now working heavily on the middle to end sections of the play.  For those following the blog, I've discussed the events of the play up to the rejection of Everyman by his Goods - or rather his final realisation that he can't take anything from his life with him.  (Or rather he thinks it's his final realisation, he's got another few to go.)
Having given up on the worldly for help, he goes to the more abstract Good Deeds.  Unfortunately for Everyman his Good Deeds are so few that they're weak and practically dead.  The play has Good Deeds "cold in the ground" - but for my version she (and she is referred to as female - a whole other blog there) is in a wheelchair.  Good Deeds introduces Everyman to Knowledge - and I've assumed that this is religious understanding, rather than the Encyclopedia Britannica.  In the original this was another character, but I've made Knowledge into an object, a small copy of the New Testament, which Everyman now carries.  He is then introduced to Confession who instructs Everyman to scourge himself.
Now, this is the part where the religious propaganda element comes on a bit strong.  Whereas before the text could be said to be universal, now the text is very specific.  That said, these days I don't think even the Catholic church goes in for scourging, so I wanted to find something a bit different.  Spoiler alert, by the way.  As Everyman prepares to scourge himself he makes a long speech, during which I'm going to collect good deeds from the audience.  Everyman has a book of reckoning, in which his good and bad deeds in his life are collected.  The book is blank, there are no good deeds in it, that's why the character Good Deeds is so weak.  So, as the audience comes in at the top of the show, they are given post-it notes to write a good deed on.  As Everyman makes his speech, he collects them in and puts them in the book of reckoning.  Also, as the audience comes in, they are asked to write bad deeds onto a t-shirt, anything they like, and it is this that Everyman wears for the first half of the show.  When he has collected in the good deeds he strips off the bad deeds - the t-shirt - and beats, not himself, but the floor, making the act of scourging more symbolic and less creepy.  This done, Good Deeds is strong enough to get out of her wheelchair.
Neat, huh?
Not only that, Good Deeds then offers Everyman (this is in the text, not added by me) "a garment of sorrow... Contrition it is" which Everyman now wears for the rest of the show.
Even neater.
Now, just got to make it work.  Because none of that is as easy to actually do as it sounds - if nothing else, because Good-Deeds is a member of the audience and will need to be lead through any actions required.

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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