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BWW Review: TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS at Tallgrass Theatre Company

A Thoughtful Production That Will Have Audience Looking at the Tiny Beautiful Moments in Their Lives.

BWW Review: TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS at Tallgrass Theatre Company
Cédric Février as Letter Writer 1
Cheryl Clark as Letter Writer 3
Jordan Wiser as Sugar
Anastasia Deace as Letter Writer 2
Photo by Dylan Heuer Photography

Some of the best moments are when a small decision significantly impacts our lives. One of the great parts of being in theatre is how it can tap into those small decisions and deliver a show that can touch on the impact of those decisions. Tallgrass Theatre Company's production of "Tiny Beautiful Things" touches on how what seems like a small or insignificant moment can make a lasting impact on the people around us and ourselves. This production is based on the book by Chery Strayed and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos. The original production at the famous Public Theatre in New York was co-conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail, and Nia Vardalos.

"Tiny Beautiful Things" tells the story of a woman who takes on a non-paid column as a woman by the name of Sugar. What she doesn't know at that moment is the impact that decision would have on her.

Throughout the show, people open up their lives to her as they come to her for advice. She quickly learns that while she may not have all the answers, she can pull from her own life experiences to relate to and help the people writing her. As she does this, she slowly gets more comfortable revealing her true story and eventually revealing who she is in real life to her audience.

One of the beautiful things that happened during the pandemic was Tallgrass Theatre Company finding their new home, where they are now doing their third show. One of the fun parts about seeing their shows is how they can let the audience tap into the show's themes through the art displayed in their gallery beforehand. They shared art from Shari Miller for this production, whose work focuses on the tiny things we forget to look at in nature. The photos were beautiful and were the perfect way to begin the evening.

Another of the great parts of having their own space is that it allows the theatre company to do some great things with the set that they usually wouldn't get to do in other places. Scenic designer and Artistic Director Tom Perrine, along with Mark Mayhew, have been able to find some tiny but unique details to put into the set. Part of that comes in painting the beautiful floor of the stage to look like tile to the audience. They have also made the set feel like they have taken a cut from the main character's home and just moved it to the stage. They do this through steps leading to a second floor and a hallway that appears to go to a laundry room. I had the pleasure of hearing Tom Perrine talk about some of the other details in the set and props by Barb McClintock. Some of them came from ideas Director Miranda Turner provided. All of these a beautifully tied together with Lighting design by Ty Klobassa and Sound Design by Cory Hug.

While we can appreciate the show's technical elements, what makes a show relatable to the audience are the actors. Director Maranda Turner has brought together an exceptional group of actors of multiple ages to play various roles. These come in the characters of the letter writers played by Cédric Février, Anastasia Deace, and Cheryl Clark. Each actor does a fantastic job with the opportunity to play various roles. Each actor gets to show off a wide range of characters that has the audience laughing and, at times, tearing up as they tap into experiences the audience can relate to or emphasize with.

Jordyn Wiser leads the cast as Suger. So many times, when we look back at an actor's performance, we look at how they slowly revealed a secret about their characters. What I found that I appreciated with Jordan was how much she could hold in and not reveal about her character. Doing this allowed her to flip quickly between giving a comedic to a heartfelt response and leaving her heart out for everyone to see her character's vulnerability. This allowed a rawness to certain moments in the show that gut the people watching.

Sometimes the best way to understand the impact a person has had is to look at the tiny beautiful moments through the time we have with them. What makes theatre so great is that it allows us to experience those moments in multiple ways, from what is happening before the show, to what we see on stage, and what the actors allow us to feel in that performance. Tallgrass Theatre Company's production of "Tiny Beautiful Things" takes the audience on a journey of reflection on what those moments are in our lives. Performances continue through May 15. To find out more about this production or to purchase tickets, visit https://tallgrasstheatre.org/tickets/



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