Every Brilliant Thing at the Jungle
The Jungle Theater is back! Last Friday I was lucky enough to go to opening night of the latest show at the Jungle, Every Brilliant Thing. It is a show that feels brand new, but rooted in the core of theater that is story telling and community. It is told in a theater that also feels new, the stage in this production has been shifted to the middle of the theater, running like a wide runway with seats rising on either side so you are watching not only the narrator but also fellow audience members who also get pulled into the story. It felt very reminiscent of another Twin Cities Theater favorite Ten Thousand Things in that way.
Every Brilliant Thing is a short (running about 60 minutes) show told by one performer (JuCoby Johnson, and Joy Dolo on Thursday Performances). It is the story of an individual who at a young age started a list of every brilliant thing around them in order to cheer up their mother who had recently attempted suicide and continues building the list as they go through their life. The show masterfully dances between acknowledging the pain of mental illness and all the little minutia of life that can bring moments of joy, all strung together with a both subtle and warm comedic touch.
Be warned this show does involve audience participation (although you are allowed to say no before the show starts). This participation can exist in small ways such as calling out a line when prompted, or in bigger ways when random audience members become characters in the story and have to improv along. This invitation into the story is done with such warmth that it goes to create one of the greatest feelings of community that I recall having in a night at the theater. And that sense community enhances the subject matter of the piece, and when it ends you feel like you want to continue it, and list your own brilliant things (which the Jungle Encourages you to do, with post it notes in the lobby of the theater).
If you are thinking about getting back to the theater, go see this show. It is perfect way to dip your toes back into the great theater that our community has to offer. And as the days are getting shorter and colder and we are nearing Thanksgiving it is a great way to reflect on all the brilliant things around you.
Every Brilliant Thing was written by Duncan MacMillan with Jonny Donahoe. It is directed by Meredith McDonough. It runs at the Jungle Theater through November 14th. Proof of COVID Vaccine or a negative test, and a mask are required for attendance. Tickets are Pay As You're Able and more information can be found by clicking here.
*Image - JuCoby Johnson in Every Brilliant Thing