He spends the majority of the play with one shoe on and one shoe off. He is Everyman, eponymous character of the classic English morality play, updated by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, whose production is currently on show at the National Theatre. The main theme of the late 15th century text has always been overtly religious, a play about salvation in the eyes of God – literally in his eyes, in front of him, as Everyman tries to save himself and prove that his life merits an extension as God’s minion, Death, stalks behind. Along the way, various virtues (Kindred, Fellowship) appear, none of which can save the doomed Everyman from paying the ultimate price for a life of turpitude. Consider this angle the bare foot (well, Everyman wears a sock, but that’s no matter); the foot that Everyman will crush glass with as a demonstration of his worth; the foot that will forever be rooted in the play’s piety.
But it’s the other foot that interests me more, the one clad for the majority of the show in a fancy designer shoe. This is the foot, the aspect of this new adaptation, if you will, which has seen me seek out Shamocracy again, this time to ask them to put straight politics aside for an article and allow me to try and shine a light on one of the great art works of the 21st century, one which speaks to the site’s core principals by way of scathing attacks on late-capitalism, vanity, greed, materialism and the narcissistic nature of The Self.
The story of the play has remained the same since its inception: Everyman, in his final hours on Earth, must give God an account of what his life amounted to. This modern-day Everyman just happens to be a wealthy banker, though, a self-righteous prick, prat and cunt; a man who welcomes in his 40th birthday with a table-line (of Last Supper length) of coke while his eclectic friends cheer him on. He is a bastion of rich excess: a high-flying, city-slicking playboy; a London elite; a man interested in only his own pleasure, in only pleasuring himself, in only the own pleasure of The Self.