Cape Rep’s BoldCo Takes on ‘Everybody’
By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley
Topics: Local Theater , Senior issues
“Everybody” will be centerstage at Cape Rep Theatre on Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m. as Cape Rep’s Bold Company, BoldCo for short, takes on “Everybody.”
This modern riff on the 15th century morality play “Everyman” offers a playful and colloquial examination of the human condition in the face of mortality as we follow Everybody’s journey down a road toward life’s greatest mystery.
Director Julie Allen Hamilton explained that the Catholic Church produced morality plays in the early days in an attempt to make sense of the world through a Christian lens, as well as to win people over to their faith.
“With so much plague going on at the time of ‘Everyman,’ as well as other things, I think this play was intended to give people comfort as well as a moral guide — be nice and good, and you will be fine and get into heaven,” Hamilton said. “In this updated version, the moral is still there, and why would you change that? But it doesn’t have the same Catholic flavor, and it’s more universal. And very funny.”
The BoldCo is Cape Rep’s free educational program for Cape residents aged 55 and over who wish to learn the craft of acting through a fun and friendly rehearsal and production process. The eight-week program is for those with little to no experience, but lots of enthusiasm.
Hamilton said that after BoldCo’s last play, “Tiny Beautiful Things,” the group’s inaugural production, which took place in November, she promised that they would do a comedy next. The subject matter of “Everybody,” however, might not necessarily strike everyone as funny at first glance.
“It is a play about death coming to you, and they weren't entirely comfortable with that in the beginning,” Hamilton said. “I love that they expressed that discomfort, but part of this process is to introduce things that are uncomfortable and scary, and provide a safe environment to work that out. We help them tackle the fear of performance in front of people, we give them the tools to be successful, and when that is working right it both provides community and opens up all of the benefits of working in this environment of expressive, creative work. It really achieves two goals.”
Hamilton said that from the beginning, when Cape Rep associate artistic director Maura Hanlon devised the theater’s educational program starting with the Young Company, the goal for the YoCo, VetCo and BoldCo has been to find good stories to perform with rigorous language. She said “Everybody” fits that mission perfectly, and the play’s language is beautiful.
About half of the cast members of “Everybody” are returning from BoldCo’s autumn production. A number of them had theater experience back in high school or college, or had done community theater at some point in their lives. But none of them, Hamilton said, have had an experience quite like this.
“Even the actors who have had some community theater experience are saying things like, ‘This is really different!’ I think a lot of it is that I am really trying to teach them the fundamentals of acting, creating a character, all the basic tools,” Hamilton said. “When you audition for a community theater project, you may be cast but may not get those fundamentals, so it’s really sink or swim. So for some of them, they may feel like they are taking a step back, but it’s about getting them to be as good as they can be, and giving them the tools to be successful.”
Hamilton said that after every BoldCo rehearsal she thanks everyone for coming. She explained that it’s a wonderful thing for her, too.
“I love it too, and I’m so grateful to them for the experience,” Hamilton said. “I tell them ‘You don’t understand what this does for me.’ It gives me a needed shot in the arm, reinvigorates my passion for teaching and for my community. It’s just fabulous for me. I can’t thank them enough, and I can’t thank (Cape Rep producing artistic director) Janine Perry’s commitment to the BoldCo project enough.”
“Everybody,” written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Julie Allen Hamilton, with stage direction by Chelsey Jo Brown, will take the Cape Rep Stage March 10 to 12, featuring BoldCo players Ken Akroyd, Lorri Alexander, Barbara Bradley, Joan Butterton, Connie Chan, Marcy Cohen, Ed Coppola, Marcia Fredlich, Ray Glaser, Laurie Goldman, Michael Harnett, Sheila Kane, Rhonda Litwinowich, Maggie MacLeay, Linda Nidle, Pam North, Bobby Parr and Bob Williamson, and featuring the skill and talent of voice and speech coach Alison Weller, costume designer Robin McLaughlin, lighting design/production stage manager Tori Mondello and sound design by Maura Hanlon. For tickets visit caperep.org or call the box office at 508-896-1888.