There will be a moment while watching Every Brilliant Thing when you will realize that you're actually having fun. And that's surprising, because this one-woman play by The Sandbox Collective deals with heavy topics such as suicide and depression.
Every Brilliant Thing tells the story of Angela, a girl who had to deal with a mentally-disturbed mother all her life. To cope, Angela wrote down every brilliant thing she could think of, hoping that her mother will see the value of life when she reads her notes.
Much praise must be given to Teresa Herrera, who played Angela. The model and TV host was magnificent, and she was able to capture the audience's attention during the show's one-hour-and-a-half runtime.
Teresa's performance was no easy feat. First off, she was the only actor in the show, so there is huge pressure on her not to fumble. She cannot forget her lines because there is no other actor on stage that can help her remember what they are.
Moreover, Teresa had to make sure that the whole audience was engaged the whole way through, because the success of the show depends on audience participation. All throughout, she had to call on the audience to volunteer as extras. One had to act as her father, for example, and another one acted as her suitor and eventual husband.
Teresa has an outstanding sense for improv, so she was able to uplift every interaction she had with the volunteers. Her way of flirting with a handsome guy in the library, for example, was rapturously funny.
The audience had to be on their toes, because before the show started, they were handed a Post It note with a number and a set of words.
When Teresa called out the number, the assigned audience member had to shout out the words, which represented a brilliant thing.
In the press preview that PEP.ph went to, many were mortified when informed that they had to speak out loud at one point in the play.
However, thanks to Teresa's infectious enthusiasm, these audience members slowly became comfortable and forgot any apprehension or embarassment. The words on paper were shouted out with gusto, to earnestly share the brilliant thing that they were holding in their hands.
Every Brilliant Thing has many standout moments that bring joy, but that's not to say that the play glosses over its serious subject with humor. It still manages to convey to the audience that depression and suicide are serious matters to discuss. There's even a segment in the play where the lead character educates theatergoers on how to help people cope with these sensitive issues.
Every Brilliant Thing runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from February 2 to 24, 2019 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in BGC, Taguig.
Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.