Review: Burbage Theatre Company's 'Everybody' Takes on Heavy Issues

by Joe Siegel

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday November 18, 2021

The ensemble of Burbage Theatre Company's "Everybody"
The ensemble of Burbage Theatre Company's "Everybody"  

Burbage Theatre Company's "Everybody" explores life, death, and the meaning of existence.

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ("Appropriate") drew inspiration from "Everyman," a 15th century morality play.

The actor playing the lead role of Everybody depends on a literal roll of the dice.

The cast have all had to memorize most of the play, and we are told that what we are about to see is one of 120 possible variations.

Michael Thibeault ("Hand to God") was Everybody at the performance I attended. The other Somebodies are Jessie March, Michael Green, Mary Mullane, and Tabi Baez-Bradway.

Everybody, who is dying, encounters Friendship, Kinship, Stuff (material possessions), Time (Zoe Pepin), Evil (Brian Kozak), Love (Vey Taylor), and asks major philosophical questions, such as 'Does Death come in a dream?' and 'Why was I born?'

The cast and crew behind this production succeeded at providing an entertaining trip into the afterlife.

Thibeault expertly conveys Everybody's inner turmoil (in recorded voice-overs) and is always compelling to watch. One of the more surreal moments is when Thibeault strips down to his boxers and condemns himself while running around the stage. It's audacious and disturbing, but undeniably powerful.

Margaret Melozzi plays Death as a no-nonsense chain-smoker who declines to accept bribes.

James Lucey (The School For Lies") shines in multiple roles, including Usher, Understanding, and God (a role every actor would certainly love to play).

Director Logan Serabian ("The Burn") maintains a fast pace and has come up with imaginative staging. The action plays out against a massive wall of mirrors that can be opened and closed. Credit goes to set designer Andrew Iacovelli.

Jacobs-Jenkins has always exhibited a deep fascination with human frailty in his writing, whether it's dysfunctional families or fractured relationships in the workplace. Everybody's fears and doubts about his destiny seem all-consuming, making an audience wonder how much of ourselves is being revealed.

Whether or not you are willing to accompany Everybody on their journey depends on your capacity for self-reflection. Will you be able to stare into the dark mirror of your soul?

In the end, Everybody is us. Everybody is what we are.
"Everybody" runs 90 minutes with no intermission.


"Everybody" runs through December 5. Burbage Theatre Company. 59 Blackstone Avenue, Pawtucket, RI. For tickets, [email protected]. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Burbage has implemented a mandatory COVID policy for their patrons. Visit www.burbagetheatre.org.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.