Reading a book on a rainy day…
The scratching sound when a record picks up…
Small pleasures and big accomplishments. Every moment big and small that makes life worth living. Things as broad as ice cream or as specific as a moment in time. These are the things that make up The List in EVERY BRILLIANT THING where we find out why having this list of moments is so important.
Windy City Playhouse Invites Us In
EVERY BRILLIANT THING calls for audience participation, which may have some of you already cringing at the thought. But Rebecca Spence does so in a way that’s inviting more than forceful. Right from the very gitgo, as we walk into the theater, we’re greeted by Spence standing at a podium in front of a cabinet filled with oddities.
She looks at you. Takes you in. And might say something along the lines of, I have the perfect thing for you. She hands you an object like a ticket stub, a bottle of Elmer’s Glue, or perhaps a paper airplane and asks, “When I say the number on this object, will you read whatever is written on the object?” It’s nearly impossible to say no and now we’re not here simply to observe, but to become part of this story.
Into The Living Room
As we continue into the performance space, we can’t help but look up at the ceiling as it’s adorned with every kind of lamp imaginable from table tops to floor lamps. A greeter makes her way over and asks you your name and to follow her to one of the low, black swivel chairs.
Everything in this room looks like pieces of a person’s home with a piano over on the left, a record player in the center, and a table with two chairs in the back. These swivel chairs we’re now seated in not only help us feel like we’re sitting in a living room at a very large party, but also aid as we follow Spence bounding through the performance space.
Takes Us Through Life’s Moments
Spence tells a story of a life as the Narrator. She tells about growing up with a mother who suffers from depression and the moments that come with it, both happy and sad.
She enlists the help of some audience members to act in a few scenes with her. We’re so enraptured with Spence and the story, we could forget these audience members aren’t actors themselves. She ebbs and flows with them and improvises at any words our audience participants come up with like it was all part of the script.
And of course she introduces us to The List, a running list of all the things that make her happy in life. And when she calls out the various numbers, audience members with those corresponding objects yell out their list items, everything from spaghetti with meatballs to finding someone you love and want to share your life with.
She’s a masterful storyteller, in this writer’s opinion, as she tells us about her life. She delivers playwright Duncan Macmillan’s words with such heart that we feel like this could be her telling us her very own story. She has a keen dramatic ability that has us feeling the emotions right along with her. She keeps the story going from moment to moment, pausing just long enough for us to feel the highs and lows, but never keeping us there for very long.
EVERY BRILLIANT THING touches on life’s ups and downs, but calls upon us to remember those moments and things that make life worth living. It would be a good fit for anyone who likes personal stories and a bit of good interactive theater.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Now through December 8, 2019
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m.
Sundays at 1 p.m.
Windy City Playhouse
2229 S Michigan Ave.
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski