BY JANET ALLEN, EXECUTIVE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Every Brilliant Thing is a new kind of experience in the theatre for IRT. This play places the audience into a new yet old relationship with a performer, rather more like being in the living room of a storyteller who you want to root for and encourage. This play invites us to participate. We can choose from a wide range of involvements—including no involvement at all—but I think that you will find that a significant part of the charm and heart of this piece is experiencing this new dynamic, literally hearing audience voices commingle with the voice of a performer (I’ll just call him Marcus from here on out).
This experience really harkens back to an ancient storytelling tradition, where humans drew about fires to talk and share stories that remind us of our shared humanity in all its fragilities, our shared strengths in banding together, and our need for shared humor and pathos for survival. Subtly, the play also suggests that we have done damage to our humanity by placing distance—be it geographical or technological or fearful—between ourselves and our fellows, and that a return to the fireside is worth the effort. The play reminds us, in form as well as content, that we are all struggling with challenges, that we all share mornings where it’s hard to get out of bed, that we all create mantras or lists that help calm us and guard against the many defeating impulses that being human assigns us.
Every Brilliant Thing is the creation of two Englishmen—a writer and an actor—and it has taken off in many parts of the world due to the generosity of these men. The stage directions explicitly invite us to adapt the details to meet our conditions of geography and nuance of language, so we have done so. That generosity is also at the core of the piece—from its premise, it exudes a belief that if we listen closely to one another, if we give over to authentic sharing, if we engage our empathy, we can accomplish anything together. We can survive together. We can experience our humanity more deeply by lowering some of the barriers that separate us. This is also a new experience in trust: in the safety of the theatre, in the generosity of a performer (Marcus!), in a belief that language can actually express our hopes, not just our differences or our cynicism.
So, we invite you to gather around the metaphoric fire that Marcus has lit for you in these frigid days of winter. He will guide us gently, encourage us generously, share openly, and invite us into a place where it’s safe to laugh, sigh, grieve, wonder, and experience joy, partly of our own making. Welcome to our campfire for humanity.
Tickets for Every Brilliant Thing are available now, including options for onstage seating! Call the Ticket Office at 317.635.5252 directly for onstage seating, or visit irtlive.com for other options.
The IRT produces top-quality, professional theatre that engages, surprises, challenges and entertains people throughout their lifetimes, helping to build a vital and vibrant community.
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