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Everyman

  • Date Submitted: 03/22/2010 08:58 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.9 
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Based on an analysis of Everyman, explore possibilities for staging a medieval morality play for a contemporary Scottish audience.

Contemporising the arguably best surviving example of medieval drama, everyman, is filled with lots of possibilities. This essay will explore the possibilities of contemporising the play for a young audience in a Theatre in Education format. It will look at modern topical issues and link them to the relevance to children today.

Unlike most morality plays which are, ‘long, sober and discursive’ (Allen) Everyman, is not. Alternatively it is a ‘brief, spirited and moving’ (Allen) piece of theatre. Although it is over 500 years since it was first devised, it still ‘remains playable today’ (Allen) and very relevant to contemporary audiences. Because of this one could argue that it would be a perfect example of a text that could be contemporises to audiences in Scotland today.

Everyman is a play exploring the ‘everyman’, in which God is displeased with what he sees with everyman and sends Death, his messenger to inform everyman of his approaching end. Everyman goes on a philosophical journey, meeting various characters on the way, characters such as; strength, fellowship and knowledge. Though all of these are uninterested in helping everyman and in the end only good deeds accompanies everyman to the gates of heaven and hell.   This then hopefully shows the audience that ‘death comes to everyone, and always unexpectantly, and, when it does, only our good deeds will help to justify us before god’ (Walker)

To contemporise any play, one has to look at relevant themes within the play, relevant to today’s audiences. It is also needed to look at the target audience and make the contempory adaption suitable. Children are an excellent target audience for a morality play, so they can be educated using theatre to address topical issues and hopefully learn the moral to the story. Taking topical issues relevant to Scotland today and modernising...

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