The Summoning of Everyman, sometimes known simply as Everyman, is a play focused on morality and mortality within a Christian context that dates back to 15th century England, where it was penned by author/s unknown. Since then, the play has become a staple of many high school and college literature classes, but is often forgettable: the play’s heavy-handed, often bland approach to the already gloomy subject of life and death, as viewed through the warped and dusty lens of medieval Roman Catholicism, often detracts from the strength of the story itself by making the everyman and his circumstances difficult to relate to.

Lucky for Vineyarders, the hardworking imaginations behind the Island Theatre Workshop are presenting a retooled version of the Everyman during the last two weekends in May, at St. Andrew’s Church in Edgartown. Under the direction of E. St. John Villard, the cast includes John Ortman in the role of Everyman, who takes the form of a more modern symbol of universal human frailty: a cancer patient, working through the final stage of life towards peace and acceptance. The contemporary twist on an old tale is also buttressed by the performance of songs dating to the 15th and 16th centuries.

Performances at the church, located on 34 North Summer street in Edgartown, are set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 21; Saturday, May 22; Thursday, May 27; Friday, May 28; and Saturday May 29. On Sunday, May 30, the final show is a 3 p.m. matinee. Admission is $15, for details, call 508-627-25290 or e-mail