‘Everybody’ Embodies Excellence


Brian Grunkowski

Actor Rebecca Smith playing Understanding, enters the scene to calm actors Harper Whittemore playing Everybody, Shruti Singh playing Love, and Sneha Kar playing Death.

The IB play, “Everybody,” was an absolute success, masterfully combining humor with heavy topics and shining a modern light on ideals as old as time. The play addresses the thought-provoking question of what happens after death and it answers that question in a way that is universal to all of humanity. 

The immersive experience that was “Everybody” began before the play even started. Having the audience seated on the stage created a kind of intimacy with the actors and themes the play presented. Throughout the play, the actors certainly took advantage of that closeness, walking up and down the aisle and making surprise entrances from behind the audience. 

Senior Shruti Singh, who played Friendship, Love, and Beauty, even spent a few moments in the audience before entering the scene, leaving the audience laughing as they wondered where on earth she came from. 

Although the script is Branden Jacob Jenkins’ modernized version of the fifteenth-century play “Everyman,” the group of five managed to take it to the next level in both their superb acting and other theatrical elements. Due to the small cast, four out of the five actors had to play multiple roles and give a distinct character to each, which they did quite successfully. Their challenge was compounded by the fact that most characters wore gray or neutral clothing in order to promote the universality of the play’s message. 

Junior Sneha Kar in particular did an expert job giving her roles of Death, Cousin, and Senses three separate personalities, breathing life into three distinct characters in the span of fifty minutes. 

The ambitious band of actors took this play even further by introducing the concept of shadows as a representation of humanity’s place in this world, a concept not mentioned anywhere in the original script. Having the actors briefly transform into silhouettes of themselves during long monologues made the contents of those monologues that much more jarring and universal; it was truly a stroke of creative genius. 

Without facial expressions and minimal body language, junior Harper Whittemore, who played Everybody, did a fantastic job conveying a plethora of emotions through solely her voice as she and her fellow actors temporarily became shadows. 

Actors Shruti Singh, Sneha Kar, and Aziz Mutabanna (not shown) enter the Puppet scene as the characters Love, Beauty, Strength, Five Senses, Mind and Death on the January 14 showing.

What took this play from good to great was something every great play needs: humor. “Everybody” had all genres of humor, from dry sarcasm to exaggerated caricatures to a pleasantly surprising puppet show; this play is bound to make anyone laugh. Junior Aziz Mutabanna was especially humorous in their portrayal of Stuff, both with the costume and the acting itself. 

“Everybody” was a hard-hitting play in every aspect, from the acting to the humor to the message itself, which senior Rebecca Smith, who played God, Usher, and Understanding, so beautifully presented in her monologues towards the beginning and end of the play. It was truly an amazing show and an immense honor to be able to see it.