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How Openly and Safely Can We Discuss Mental Illness?

Every Brilliant Thing comes to Manila


Every Brilliant Thing premiered last Saturday at the Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, Bonifacio Global City.

Directed by Jenny Jamora and starring Teresa Herrera, this internationally acclaimed Duncan Macmillan one-character play tells the story and perspectives of a child who, when faced with her mother’s attempt in taking her own life, writes a list of things in the world that makes life worth living.

Teresa Herrera

                                                 Teresa Herrera

While mental health awareness is a growing topic here in the Philippines, stigma against mental and emotional condition is still a reality in our culture. It is a no-joke matter that millions of people face every day and it’s important to spark conversations on this topic in safe spaces and forms and through the ever-fascinating lens of art. The Sandbox Collective aims to do just that with its theatrical production.

Jenny Jamora

                                                       Jenny Jamora

In a tasteful mix of heartfelt monologues and comedic audience dynamics, Every Brilliant Thing aims to start an honest and unflinchingly raw discussion not only on people with mental and emotional concerns but also on the capacity of the human spirit to find happiness in even the smallest of things. This play holds a unique format wherein the audiences are included in the performance as the lead character breaks through the fourth wall and interacts with the viewers as the narrative plays out.

Every Brilliant Thing has been staged in locations across the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, and South Korea. It has even been filmed for an HBO documentary in 2016. Manila has been added to that list as Sandbox and 9 Works bring this play to life locally. With Toff De Venecia, founder of The Sandbox Collective, at the helm, the production team has extended their work outside of the theater and into the community by exploring the different facets of mental health in art and pop culture, and through featured organizations and advocates.

Unique to this play are its post-show discussions in which The Sandbox Collective invites several mental health experts to have a dialogue about the topic for the audiences. This allows the theme of mental health to be further understood and explored in the space of openness, acceptance, and healing. The activity also promotes support groups, suicide hotlines, mental health consultations, and various coping mechanisms to raise awareness with audiences.

Every Brilliant Thing runs until Feb. 24 at the Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, 26th Street, corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.


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