The Page High School Drama Club will be performing a modern interpretation of the “Summoning of Everyman” on November 7, 8, and 9 at the Cultural Arts Building. The cast of 12 will attempt to transport the 600 year old play into our millennium with Nathan Haynie as the lead role.
“It’s a very religious parable of a person facing death, and the different types of attitudes. It’s a very symbolic, cosmic journey of somebody facing the end of his life.” said Cory Albert, 12th grade English teacher and drama club facilitator. “Its a little unusual but less controversial play than we’ve done in the past.”
The original play was written nearly 600 years ago by an anonymous author believed to have been a catholic priest. The Drama club will translate the original plot of god summoning death to visit the lead character to have him face the deeds of his life. In addition to facing the deeds of his life the man must also reckon with more characters thought to be more an idea rather than a living entity, such as Beauty or Strength.
The Drama club will entertain the audience with a re-imagined story on a minimalist stage setting that involves a young man in the 21st century who has spent almost his entire life playing video games. The pursuit of status and wealth via gaming provokes a visit from God to warn the man when death is lurking in the shadows. God tells the man he must atone for what is considered a wasted life due to the modern ills of technology, social media and gaming.
“Rebecca Miller, the main director, has added technology to it because the idea is that the people who the [lead character] meets on his journey are distracted by technology. The technology is meant to add some satire and a modern day take on it. As the journey goes on you will be impressed with Nathan’s acting.” Albert promises.
The new vision of the play comes from Miller’s personal experience teaching teenagers and how she sees technology becoming a bigger distraction and a force that blurs the line between right and wrong because the technology is perceived to be a harmless tool.
“Rebecca Miller’s family owns [the Hackmatack] theater in Maine. She said she really missed doing that so she contacted me and said she wanted to be involved in this year’s production.” added Albert about his co-facilitator.
“I decided to look at technology and how it is taking over the world. But we should be really looking at good deeds.” said Miller. “I am a teacher and I see it everyday that kids are getting addicted to their phones. The suicide rate has gone up 75% as a result of being on their phones, especially girls who are waiting [on validation]. But it should be that no matter what you believe we should all be doing good things.”
Haynie is an actual tech club member and gamer who, on a whim, was challenged to read for the part by Miller. She made him read partly as a joke because the auditions were closed and he wanted to be in the room to support his friends. He was a natural and got the lead role.
Haynie plays a typical, 30 year old gamer who has lost himself to the technology and is no longer living in the real world.
“We are translating traditional sinning to everyday distractions of our world like drinking into the menace of our cell phones but with a comedic spin on it but with the lessons in there.” Haynie said. But when the character is faced with death he learns that he needs more than just material things.
“I took a couple of things from my life like losing friends a couple of years back and it’s a lot harder especially when you’re losing your own life. A lot if it is also teenage angst and channeling that drama mindset of true pain and suffering at [not having your favorite flavor of ice cream].” he says about his acting process to play the role.
“The death scene is the best scene because it shows you how, probably, every millennial sees death, that there is a finality of death that keeps crawling onward with little time left. It’s going to look very good.” Haynie adds.
The play will open the doors on November 7 and 8 at 7 pm at the CAB and then Friday November 9 for a matinee at 4 pm.