Nov. 16, 2023 By Nevine Salameh
“Everybody,” Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Pulitzer Prize-winning dark comedy playwright, has taken the stage in Long Island City.
The production by LaGuardia Community College’s theatre program will be on stage at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center’s Black Box Theater — located at 31-10 Thomson Ave., room M-122 — and will run from Nov. 15 to Nov. 20, with performances at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with an additional noon showing on Nov. 20.
The play was chosen by Christopher Weston, the director of LaGuardia’s Theater Program, Stefanie Sertich, a professor of theater and James Ryan Caldwell, a LaGuardia Theater lecturer and the play’s director.
“We chose ‘Everybody’ because playwright Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins is so exciting and bold,” Caldwell said. “He challenges audiences by creating uncomfortable circumstances in which they have no option but to engage.”
“Everybody” is a contemporary adaptation of the 15th century morality play, “Everyman,” which follows every actor who will be playing concepts that involve love, truth, family, friendship, etc., as they journey through the meaning of life.
The cast will feature LaGuardia Theater majors including T. Hanifah Johnson, Isabelle Martinez, Liz Pratt, Rafael Dela Cruz, Jermaine Parker, Mya Marte, Jason Rodriguez, Bishal Dahal, Dickel Jallow, Aniyah Solomon, Lakhanpal Tak, Yuliza Abreu and recent graduate Christian Houston.
Contributing as crew members are Jaden Collins, Lee Monahan, KE Plunkett, Myea Patterson, and Daya Toney.
“For each scene, the students wrote stories about a theme or topic explored in it,” Caldwell said. “Their stories are the inspiration for the movement, stage props, and set design,” Mr. Caldwell added.
This play’s distinctive storyline inspired the adoption of an in-the-round seating style, with audience members encircling the stage.
“The in-the-round format enables every member of the audience to see one another, creating an intimate atmosphere,” Caldwell said. “It’s a great challenge for the students too because it’s much different from a proscenium theater, where they’re always facing in one direction.”
Caldwell also highlighted the production’s goal of ensuring that everyone is represented.
“When we say everybody, we’re really trying to make it about everybody,” he said. “It’s fun and fascinating to look at how different all of us are. Yet, we share essential human qualities.”
“The play is a layering of these individual aspects of our identity with what happens when they’re stripped away. It has a very humanist approach,” he added.
Make sure to catch the emotional journey of “Everybody” when it hits the stage.
Reserve and purchase your tickets here. Tickets cost $8 for students and $10 for general admission.