- by Mount Saint Mary College
James Phillips, associate professor of Theatre (pictured), and a team of Mount Saint Mary College alumni and current students will present Every Brilliant Thing from April 19 to April 21

Armed with his list of everything worth living for, a man reviews his traumas and triumphs in Mount Saint Mary College’s presentation of Every Brilliant Thing on Wednesday, April 19, through Friday, April 21.

The performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday, and 4 p.m. on Thursday, in the Aquinas Hall Theatre, 330 Powell Ave., Newburgh, N.Y. The Thursday performance will include a question and answer session after the play. Admission is $5, or free with a Mount ID. Tickets are limited. For reservations, call the box office at 845-569-3273.

Written by playwright Duncan Macmillan and comedian Jonny Donahoe, Every Brilliant Thing tells the story of a boy who, to ease his mother’s depression, begins creating a list of all the things worth living for. From ice cream to martial arts movies, the list grows as the boy enters adulthood. This one-man play follows the boy’s life into adulthood as he deals with depression, love, trials, and victories.

James Phillips, associate professor of Theatre, says the experience is as comedic as it is poignant.  

“It’s very funny and entertaining,” he explained, “but it’s also very touching.”

What helps to make theatre so special, Phillips notes, is its finite nature – no two performances are ever the same. That sentiment rings even more true with Every Brilliant Thing than most other plays: six characters are pulled from the audience and adlib their small parts, and more than 50 others are called upon to read entries in the brilliant things list.

“The magic of this piece is that nobody ever says no, nobody freezes, and it just always works,” said Philips. “This story becomes the group’s story together, rather than passively sitting and watching a narrative. Everyone in the audience has their role to play.”

Helping to bring the performance to the stage are a crew of two Mount alumni and one current student: teacher candidate Todd Weaver of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and Mount alumni Alexander Florez ’15 (director) and Sierra Caban ’21.


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