By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Over the course of the season, our assistant directors and student dramaturgs will be compiling dramaturgical resources relating to each production as it develops. Below are some links to websites which relate to the history of the play, the biography of the playwright, and sites that contextualize and, we hope, shed light on the directorial approach to the dramatic material.
We hope you find these resources of interest.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (b. 1984)
About the Playwright
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins was born in Washington D.C. in 1984. He then attended Princeton University where he graduated with a major in anthropology in 2006. Following this, he pursued his M.F.A from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2007. Jacobs-Jenkins has also graduated from the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program from The Julliard School (2014), and graduated as part of the class of 2016 from the MacArthur Fellows Program.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is an up-and-coming playwright who interacts with many complicated issues, especially issues surrounding identity, family, class and race. He often uses historical background to satirize and comment on modern culture. In his pursuit to address complicated issues, Jacobs-Jenkins does not go about the manner in a light-hearted manner, but instead frankly addresses the problems in order to more clearly talk about them.
His two plays Gloria and Everybody were finalists for the 2016 and 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, respectively. In 2014, Jacobs-Jenkins won the Obie Award for Best New American Play for his plays Appropriate and An Octoroon.
About the Play
Originally written and produced in 2017 at the Signature Theatre, Everybody is modern adaptation of one of the oldest plays ever written, Everyman. Following Everyman, Everybody is also considered a morality play. Everybody follows the character of Everybody as they are faced with the difficult task of confronting Death. Along the way, Everybody interacts with varying aspects of their life as they search for someone to come with them to present an account of their life and all they have achieved to “God.”
Everybody can be set in any place, or time, as there are few requirements by the playwright for where it is set. The constants in the play are always Death and Time, who are played by the oldest and youngest member of the cast, respectively.
For each performance of Everybody five “Somebodies” will draw their roles via a lottery presented during the play. This reflects the randomness of Death, as it could be anybody who must confront it.
About the Production
This production will feature a live lottery every night in the middle of the play as the script calls for. Each actor has more or less memorized the entire play, and no two nights will be the same performance!
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh (http://www.sas.rochester.edu/theatre/people/artists-adjuncts/yousefzadeh-pirronne/index.html)