UBC medical students explore life and death through theatre

For a group of UBC medical students, exploration of the concepts of life and death is jumping from the clinic to the stage.

This year’s MedPlay will bring together 20 students from UBC’s undergraduate medical program in the production of Everybody, by playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Based on the 15th-century morality play Everyman, the show follows the character Everybody as they, after an encounter with Death, explore the universal question of what it means to live. Each night, the actor playing the role of Everybody is chosen through a lottery onstage, reflecting the unpredictability of life.

MedPlay 2019 brings together 20 UBC medical students in the production of Everybody, by playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

“The themes of life and death are relevant to all of us, regardless of our age or circumstances,” says Xuan Zhao, a second year medical student in UBC’s Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program and one of the MedPlay producers. “Everybody takes a more lighthearted approach to examining these big concepts, exploring them through both a comedic and a reflective lens.”

For busy medical students, MedPlay – an annual tradition, now in its 18th year – provides a meaningful opportunity to give back to the community in a different way, with all proceeds going to charity. This year’s production will benefit Project Limelight, which provides theatre programs for children and teens from low-income families in Vancouver.

MedPlay also provides the opportunity for medical students to explore their creative side. Zhao credits this experience with helping participants to become better doctors.

“We spend a large amount of our time as medical students focusing on the science of medicine – learning how diseases manifest and how we can treat them,” explains Zhao.

“MedPlay provides us with a space to take a break from that and to be creative, which will ultimately help us to be more well-rounded doctors, attentive not only to the science of medicine, but also the art.”

MedPlay 2019: Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Performance Dates: January 31 to February 2 and February 7 to 9

Performance Time: 8 pm (doors at 7 pm)
Concession open before and after the show. Please arrive early to purchase concession and 50/25/25 tickets

Venue: Medical Student & Alumni Centre (MSAC), 2750 Heather Street, Vancouver

Tickets: $20 – Email medplayatubc@gmail.com

Everybody takes a modern, comedic twist on the 15th-century morality play Everyman. The show follows the character of Everybody as they embark on a journey to try and answer the question that everybody eventually faces: what it means to live. Each night, the actor playing the role of Everybody will be decided using a lottery system – as unpredictable as life itself.

All proceeds from this year’s production of Everybody will go towards Project Limelight, a local charity that provides theatre programs for children from low-income families.