Dec 5, 2018
by Alexa Chipman
Rather than a formal staging, the solo performance ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ feels like the audience is relaxing in a living room, listening to an enthusiastic anecdote told by a beloved relative. The lights are up throughout the play, interaction is encouraged, and Ron Severdia’s casual persona is easily approachable.
Reminiscing on a childhood overshadowed by his mother’s depression, Severdia’s character explains how he started a list of random things that brought joy, from “ice cream” to “having a piano in the kitchen.” The boyhoodnaiveté that leaving post-it notes of encouraging phrases could fix a deeply bleak existence soon gives way to reality. Despite an ever-growing pile of reasons why hope should exist, the harsh daily struggle continues.
What is remarkable about ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is that despite exploring a troubled, dark subject, it is filled with compassion and optimism. Director Argo Thompson creates an open, welcoming environment in the intimate theater, building a sense of shared humanity between audience members.
Severdia roams through the seats before curtain, handing out slips of paper that represent pieces of the list referenced in the play’s title. Rather than a strict monologue, some in attendance are called upon to take impromptu roles and become part of the story, keeping each presentation exciting and unpredictable.
While billed as a comedy by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is tender and thought-provoking. Severdia’s quietly captivating performance and Jeff Basham’s lush sound design combine into a theater experience that you do not want to miss.
Presented by Left Edge Theatre through December 9, 2018
Fri/Sat at 8:00pm, Sun at 2:00pm
Photos from Left Edge Theatre
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