The holiday season has always been a time to celebrate life and the reasons we live it: love, family and joy. This year, Theatreworks is tapping into the heart of the season with its performance of Duncan MacMillan’s “Every Brilliant Thing.”
According to the Theatreworks website, the show is a one-actor story centered on a narrator — played by Rebecca Myers and Lynne Hastings at select shows — who begins a list of life’s small joys for their mother. The list grows as the narrator becomes an adult; the list eventually helps them save their own life.
Theatreworks describes the show as a celebration of “resilience, perseverance, and the power of human connection against all odds, and [it] asks us to consider one essential question: What makes life worth living?”
“I think ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is a story that reminds all of us of once-in-a-lifetime big, small, wonderful things that make life worth showing up for,” said director Marisa Hebert in an interview with Theatreworks Artistic Director Caitlin Lowans.
“After the last year that we’ve all had I really think it’s important that we get to gather again and celebrate our humanity and get back to telling stories about our lives,” Hebert said. “I am just super excited to get people into a space again and to just have a lovely sharing of a wonderful story about humanity.”
The show promises not only a sweet story of hope and love, but also an honest examination of mental health issues and suicide. A content advisory on the website warns of descriptions of depression, self-harm and suicide.
Although the script deals with difficult and traumatic themes, the story is ultimately one of triumph over pain, which is a message that fits with the hope and joy we embrace during the holidays.
“I think ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is for anyone who wants to be just wrapped up in a warm fuzzy hug or a story,” Hebert said. “[It’s for] for anyone who needs some joy or hope or love, or just to be reminded that we’re all so connected on this tiny spinning orb in the universe.”
The play will be showing in the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant theater from Nov. 26 through Dec. 19. Tickets are free to students and can be reserved by emailing the Ent Center box office at [email protected].
This is the second show of five in the Theatreworks 2021-22 season. Upcoming shows include “Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue” by Quiara Alegría Hudes, the heartrending story of a Puerto Rican military family; an adaptation of Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” about a young Black girl’s search for beauty; and William Shakespeare’s classic comedic tale of love and gender confusion, “Twelfth Night.”
More details about these shows can be found on the Theatreworks website.