Theatre productions company QTP’s brand new play, Every Brilliant Thing, written by Duncan MacMillan, might not be the kind of play that you would want to watch on a date night, but it is an important play that you would certainly wish to watch with somebody whose physical and emotional well-being you care about deeply.
The British play has been adapted for Indian audiences, and even has ‘Amma’ and ‘Baba’ in it. But, at its crux, it is the story of a man, Vivek, who started making a list of all the brilliant things out there that would cheer his Amma, who attempted suicide when he was only seven. “She did something stupid,” says his father, as the two drive to the hospital to see her. A confused Vivek tries to draw answers from his Baba, with the 'why's swirling his his head.
Every Brilliant Thing is a heart-warming tale about different kinds of love—filial, amorous and even love for one’s pet. A very important aspect of the play is humour. While important issues such as depression, suicide and loneliness are addressed, what the play manages to do is very delicately capture a slice of life—the many experiences and battles in lives that people lack the courage to acknowledge and are, at times, even ashamed to speak about.
Every Brilliant Thing is performed by actor Vivek Madan, who puts up a one-man-show. To use one word, Madan’s performance is superlative. Director Quasar Thakore Padamsee has handled a rather difficult subject in an adroit manner; he manages to transport the audience beautifully through different moods. The manner in which both, Thakore Padamsee and Madan, also describe the passage of time to the audiences is important because so much happens in the protagonist’s life at different times in his life. The music has been beautifully incorporated, going along with the important happenings and the lighting by Arghya Lahiri also plays a pivotal role in influencing moods as the play progresses.
QTP’s idea of directing this play, which is running successfully in several countries around the world, is a very good one as it addresses important and unspoken issues such as mental health and suicide, but the play could do with a little more finesse. Sometimes, the audience tends to get a little lost. This is an interactive play, where the audience also participates in reading out Vivek’s long list. This presents difficulties to other audience members who are unable to hear clearly what is being read out aloud. However, having said that, this play, set in the present, is a ‘must-see’ as it deals with topics often brushed under the carpet.
All in all, Every Brilliant Thing is like a beautiful work of art and is bound to leave you with many thoughts, feelings and questions, not to mention a slight smile.