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Review: Theatre Three's EVERY BRILLIANT THING is sheer brilliance!

Review: Theatre Three's EVERY BRILLIANT THING is sheer brilliance!

The production runs from July 10-August 28, 2022 on Sundays @ 3pm

Review: Theatre Three's EVERY BRILLIANT THING is sheer brilliance! On Sunday, July 17, 2022, I saw one of the most moving productions I have ever seen. Port Jefferson's Theatre Three partnered with the Response Crisis Center to mount the Long Island premiere of Duncan MacMillan and Jonny Donahoe's Every Brilliant Thing. In Every Brilliant Thing, a narrator, whom can be played by a male or female, takes center stage to present a created list of "brilliant" things worth living for, which is used to try and raise the spirits of his/her chronically depressed and suicidal mother. With the help, of some audience participation, the narrator brings this list to life for all to see and share. This production could not come at a better time especially after the last 3 years with the world dealing with a pandemic physically, politically, and racially. Also, on July 16, 2022, 988 is the new 3 digit dialing code that was made available to all across the United States; this number will route callers directly to the National Suicide Prevention Line. This production is a great way to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to promote the new 988 lifeline.

In the spirit of the production, I thought I would provide my own list of "every brilliant thing" pertaining to this production.

  1. Jeffrey Sanzel - Jeffrey Sanzel takes on the role of the Narrator and truly gives one the of the best acting performances I've seen this year. He truly inhabits this role and brings this show to life. During the performance, I forgot I was seeing a play; I thought it was an autobiographical one man show. Jeff truly lives this character's life right I front of your eyes; he breathes life into every word he utters. One truly powerful moment in the show comes when the narrator explains how he and his father could not speak after his mom's multiple suicide attempts. Ella Fitzgerald's "But Not For Me" begins to play. Jeff then looks at the audience member portraying his father. You see a gloss form over Jeff's eyes. Jeff's performance will literally take your breath away.
  2. The set & staging - Linda May stages and exquisite production. The production is performed in The Ronald F. Peierls Theatre on Second Stage. Theatre Three' cabaret/stand-up theater. Performing the show in this theater allowed for a more intimate experience. Jeff really makes great use of the stage and floor. The intimacy of the theater allowed the audience to transport themselves into the production.
  3. The audience - I was lucky to have a fantastic audience in attendance. This interactive show does require some audience participation. Many audience members are asked to read aloud items on the narrator's brilliant things list. Some audience members are asked to take on central roles in the Narrator's life. The scenes where Jeff acts with the audience members is 100% improvisational. I was amazed by the improvisational skills of the audience members. They did a fantastic job! I must also mention that this was the first time I saw members of the audience get up after the show and go directly to the box office to purchase tickets to another performance.
  4. The music - I loved the music that was incorporated in this show. The music helps the audience connect to this show on another level. You'll hear everything from Nina Simone to Ella Fitzgerald to Wham!. I wish I had a playlist of all the songs used in this production.
  5. The board of brilliant things - A nice touch this production implements happens at the end of the performance. Audience members are given a post-it to contribute a "brilliant thing" to be displayed on the board. It's another great way to incorporate audience participation. The brilliant thing I wrote on my post-it was this performance.

will be performed on Sundays @ 3pm from July 10-Aug 28, 2022. 50% of the ticket sales will be donated to the Response Crisis Center.

As per Theatre Three's website: "*CONTENT WARNING: Although the play balances the struggles of life while celebrating all that is "truly brilliant" in living each day, Every Brilliant Thing contains descriptions of depression, self-harm, and suicide. The show briefly describes a character's attempted suicides and her death by suicide. We recommend only audience members 14+ attend, and remind audiences to attend this program with their personal experiences in mind. As always, if you or somebody you know is struggling, we are here to talk 24/7 at 631-751-7500 or the National Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255 *"

You can purchase tickets here:®id=181&

From This Author - Nicholas Pontolillo

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