This review was originally published by Greenville Arts Today on December 14, 2019.  Review by Dennis Tavernetti.  Photo by Wallace Krebs.

 

As Shakespeare once wrote: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”. Last night’s performance of Every Brilliant Thing at The Warehouse Theatre drove home the Bard’s meaning by example and immersion of its 21st century audience. The play itself, its clever production, and configuration of the theatre provided the opportunity for the audience to face the realities of the existence of the mental illness, depression and coping. This is not to say that the play is scary or depressing at all.

 In fact, it is very funny and real.  It works hard to delineate the prescribed behaviors when dealing with others or one’s depression. It is a mixture of joy and reality in the coping in direct response to another’s disappointments and depression. In my view, the laughs are many and real, but from the audience they are emitted because they are based on their own life experiences…and soon we realize that might be the playwright’s point…this mental health issue is all encompassing… and in every one of us.

The solo (sans audience’s acting) performance by David Lee Nelson is so real that it is disarming…he is someone we know, a friend, and from the very beginning we care about him and want to help  him in his journey from a small boy to an adult (not unlike every one of us).

Go see it if you can, even though it is not the typical Christmas play, it uncovers a wonderful reality of the issues Shakespeare’s humanity continues to face and particularly at Christmas, where perfection, expectations of happiness and dreams abound. Coping by remembering every brilliant thing we experience long ago, yesterday or even today, is not a bad thing.