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CANFIELD



Published: Sat, April 20, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



'Everyman' was written by a 14th-century monk.

CANFIELD -- "Everyman" will lead audience members through the step-by-step process for salvation.

"Everyman" is a modern adaptation of an early church morality tale by the 34west Theater Company's co-founders, Jeffrey Querin and Stephen Baldwin, both of Boardman.

The play, which will be presented next month at Old North Church, is mostly geared toward younger audiences. It's an updated version of a 14th-century morality tale written by an anonymous monk, Baldwin said.

Characters as qualities

The play is an allegory in which characters are named after and embody qualities, such as Strength and Knowledge. In the tale, Everyman is summoned by Death at the direction of God. Everyman seeks a companion to accompany him to his reckoning with the Almighty. He asks his Friends, Family and Wealth to go with him.

Baldwin said of the characters, "Some are good, and some are not so good."

Baldwin plays about seven roles. Querin plays the title character.

Jessica Kell of Houston, Texas, plays eight characters, including Death. Kell portrayed Sarah in 34west's season opener, "Abraham & amp; Sarah."

Kenn McLaughlin, managing director of Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, will direct. It's his first involvement with the 2-year-old professional troupe. McLaughlin is no stranger to Ohio, having spent 11 years at the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland.

McLaughlin now manages the Texas-based repertory company with a projected budget in excess of $1.5 million.

Querin, 34west's artistic director, said, "This particular play speaks deeply as it deals directly with issues of faith. We consider the spiritual significance of each play we present, always hoping that the result is a closer relationship to Christ."

Set in today's world

The 34west adaptation remains true to the original language but has been set in modern times that include cell phones, laptop computers and a beauty pageant.

For example, when God tells Death to summon Everyman, Death -- at first -- calls Everyman on his cell phone.

The production's music is contemporary Christian with a techno feel.




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