REVIEW: Market Theatre Tackles Serious Matter with Aplomb in ‘Every Brilliant Thing’

Antoinette Hall in Every Brilliant Thing

BY SANDY STAGGS
DRAMA CRITIC

1. Ice cream. 2. Kung Fu movies. 3. Burning things. 4. Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose. 5. Construction cranes. 6. Me.

This is the initial list in Every Brilliant Thing at the Market Theatre Company in Anderson. Created by the narrator (Antoinette Hall) at 7 years old, the list is meant to show her mother who has just attempted suicide that life is worth living, worth getting up every day and facing an unkind, frightening world.

Personally, I would add: puppy breath; the pristine air after an afternoon thunderstorm; an erotic dream in the morning; a hug from a friend; forgotten memories on Facebook.

Hall, in this emotional, tour de force performance, enlists audience members to tell her character’s story from naming the items on her list, to playing the veterinarian who euthanizes her elderly dog, to a stand-in for her father, and girlfriend and eventual wife, etc.

Some of our readers may have seen The Warehouse’s production of Every Brilliant Thing in December 2019 starring the late, great David Lee Nelson, or the 2016 HBO film. Written by Duncan Macmillan and Johnny Donahoe, the solo piece is not a true story per se, but the journey feels real.

The script is laden with humor and insight, and despite the serious subject matter, not necessarily depressing. Hall draws strength from an unknown dark place to tell this story with organic beats of sadness and introspection that implore the audience to just say “No” to suicide, and challenge the media to cover such events gingerly, not glorifying the act, which studies have shown a residual effect and spike in cases after such reporting.

Directed with precision and aplomb by Drew Whitley, the set is sparse and light, and ready to travel to a community center or library near you. Every Brilliant Thing, a 60 minute play with no intermission, is the kick-off show for the Market Theatre Mobile Production Unit, a touring show that travels around our community to perform, engage, and fulfill our belief that “the arts are for everyone.”

The in-house production has closed and the Market Theatre had a mental health professional on hand at each performance.

Tour Schedule

Anderson Library Main Branch — Jan. 20, 7pm
Anderson County Seniors — Jan. 21, 2pm
The LOT Project — Jan. 27, 6pm
Library – Pendleton — Feb. 10, 7pm
Library – Powdersville — Feb. 24, 7pm
Library – Belton — Mar. 3, 7pm
Greenwood Com. Theatre — Mar. 16, 7:30pm
Garden House — Mar. 31, 7:30pm
Gather Greenville — Apr. 25, 7:30pm
Anderson Soirée — Apr. 29

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