The Justice Theater Project’s Every Brilliant Thing Is a Lighthearted Look at a Heavy Subject

Theatre Raleigh will stage Mike Wiley and Howard L. Craft's Peace of Clay on Sept. 22-26 and Sept. 29-Oct. 3
Theatre Raleigh will stage Mike Wiley and Howard L. Craft’s Peace of Clay on Sept. 22-26 and Sept. 29-Oct. 3

The Justice Theater Project is back in business! After over a year and a half of COVID shutdown, JTP presents Every Brilliant Thing, written by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe, performed by Thaddaeus Edwards, and directed by J. Chachula.

When one loses a loved one to suicide, one may ask “Why did she/he do it?” and “What could I have done to prevent it from happening?” There probably is no answer. The questions may never go away. Depression is no laughing matter, but this is a very funny play.

It’s also an unusual play, in that it is written to invite the entire audience to be participants. As the audience assembles, each one is given several scraps of paper that have a number and a word or two or more written on them. They will become part of the performance, occasionally. Several audience members will be asked to stand in as characters that the solo performer needs to assist in telling his story, which extends from 1985, when he is seven years old, until well into his adulthood.

This is an exploration of depression, both his mother’s, and as it turns out, of his own, as he begins and creates over this period a list defined by the title. Here is a lesson that we can all use during this very difficult period in our country and beyond. The lesson is to concentrate on every brilliant aspect of life that makes it worth living.

On our list of brilliant things is Thaddaeus Edwards’ 75-minute performance, which is so completely natural that one might think that he wrote it himself. His style is so personally inclusive that as his eyes meet every one of us, he nonetheless speaks to us all. He deftly transitions from childhood to adulthood.

For people reluctant to go to live theater, this is good one to start back with. Masks and proof of vaccination with photo ID is required, and socially distanced seating is set up.

Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe’s EVERY BRILLIANT THING (In Person at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17 and 22-24)), directed by J. Chachula and featuring Thaddaeus Edwards (The Justice Theater Project at the Umstead Park United Church of Christ, 8208 Brownleigh Dr., Raleigh, 27617). RELATED EVENTS (scroll down): VIDEOS: 2021-22 SEASON: COVID REQUIREMENTS (scroll down): here. TICKETS: $23 ($20 seniors and active-duty military personnel and $5 student and educators). Click here to buy tickets. INFORMATION: 919-264-7089 or NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26th, performance. PLEASE DONATE TO: The Justice Theater Project.


Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori previously reviewed theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.