By: Connie Klimek
Senior Theater majors Mya Piccione and Dan Klimczak take audiences back to the trauma of the pandemic’s onset in March 2020 through the eyes of 22 year old Eve living in New York City, in their loose adaptation of “Everyman” from the 16th century. That’s right, Piccione and Klimczak are playwrights.
Piccione and Klimczak transformed their personal experiences of accepting, processing, and returning from the uncertainty of early 2020 into a vulnerable performance which encapsulates themes of: coping with loss of the familiar and structure, craving alone time without feeling lonely, guilt associated with social withdrawal, and care of one’s mental health.
Their setting transports audiences to the apartment of a young journalist, Eve, whose concept of time is measured by the events occurring in her loved ones’ lives accompanied by fluctuations of beer bottles, takeout, and laundry around her apartment.
Piccionce created this show as her senior capstone project, combining her passions of directing, design, and newfound playwriting. Piccione and Klimczak’s adaptation of “Everyman” grew not only to be a creative outlet for an unprecedented historical event, but also serves as closure from such a devastating period for several cast members, such as Madison Coleman, actor.
“It’s really interesting to be a part of a show that’s never been done before. As an actor you’re used to doing shows that are classics and have been done for years and years while trying to recreate an authentic performance. We’re creating our own material here,” said Bobby Simons, actor.
Klimczak, who is well known in the Theater Department for his acting in numerous shows, and Piccione, who has acted, but primarily directs performances at IU South Bend, seized this opportunity to do more than share Eve’s story, but to address theatrical stigmas such as static supporting characters. Piccione and Klimczak chose to highlight the livelihoods of every supporting character, which is a rarity in the theatrical realm.
“Our hope is for these characters to feel like actual, developed people with full lives. When you see a character on stage you may relate to, you don’t want them to just be pushing someone else along, you want them to have their own goals, their own dreams. They don’t just exist to further the plot,” said Klimczak referencing his and Piccione’s creation of dynamic supporting characters.
Several actors cast in the show recount sentimental emotions watching their friends, Piccione and Klimczak, blossom while taking a leap of faith in playwriting, especially for such a vulnerable show. Cast members refer to Piccione and Klimczak as best friends outside the theater and a “dream team” inside the theater.
Photo // Mya Piccione