A one-woman show. A six-year-old’s solution to adult problems. A list of things that make life brilliant, in order to counteract her mother’s suicide attempt. A list on that show (and life in general, as others can always influence a brilliant things list) that has no particular order.
- Rebecca Spence as the most delightfully heartbreaking interactive monologist.
- Doggie kisses.
- An audience full of strangers that, by the end of the show, feel like longtime friends.
- Sharing an inspirational ninety minutes with a dear friend.
- Tearjerking light work (thanks to production designer Scott Davis or master electrician Blake Cordell) made up of upside-down household lamps.
- Crisp autumn mornings.
- Duncan Macmillan’s script, which takes depression on a comedic ride while never dismissing the reality of living with depression and the effects it has on those around you.
- A good cup of coffee.
- The handful of audience members who seamlessly participated in the show despite audience participation misgivings in the beginning.
- Vinyl records (the protagonist is totally right, they do sound better).
- Jessica Fisch’s light-handed direction, which allowed Spence to embrace the role and the entire room.
- Sweater weather that doesn’t get interrupted by a seventy-degree afternoon.
- Everything about Eric Backus’ sound design as a character all its own.
- Theater in all of its brilliance.
- Depression. Although it can make life unbearable, it also makes those bright days a little bit brighter after living through the dark ones.
- Walking in the rain with people that you love.
- Absorbing the stark realities of “Every Brilliant Thing” knowing personally how devastating depression can be while also being able to laugh in the face of bitter truths.
- Sunshine peeking through a cloud-scattered sky.
- Spence ad-libbing with folks she’s never met and treating those newcomers as dear friends.
- A hug from someone you haven’t seen in far too long.
- BoBo the sock-puppet therapy dog (whose name changes every performance).
- The undeniable beauty of a child’s optimism.
- Spence assigning each member of her audience a specific memory as if she is trying to pinpoint your connection to said memory.
- Warm chocolate chip cookies.
- Knowing exactly what Spence means when she refers to that gut instinct of knowing something is wrong before you are actually told something is wrong.
- Old-book smell.
- Seeing Spence masterfully take over a room, compelling the audience to, at times, turn completely around so as to not miss a second of her performance.
- Curling up with a soft blanket.
- Learning the cues of the protagonist’s father’s moods by the music he plays from his study.
- This play.
Windy City Playhouse (South), 2229 South Michigan, (773)891-8985, windycityplayhouse.com, $55-$75. Through December 8.