Presented by the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Every Brilliant Thing hopes to counter act the trends of youth suicide by openly confronting the tragic problem.
“It’s just a beautiful play with a life affirming message that deals with the topic of depression and suicide,” said Donn Jersey, the director of development and communication for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. “Which, unfortunately, is a problem in Utah.”
“A year ago we decided to take this out on the road. We wanted to play it to some highschools, and after talking to our university president, Scott Wyatt, he says, ’let’s offer it to all of them and all the public universities.’”
Jersey says the play begins with this: “the list began after her first attempt — a list of every brilliant thing that made life worth living.”
“And that’s what this play is about,” Jersey said. “Those things hiding in plain sight when we’re suffering.”
Jersey said there is a consensus shared by the audience at the end of the performance.
“You are not alone, you’re not weird, it gets better and life moves on,” Jersey said.
Lt. Governor Spencer Cox as lent his support for Every Brilliant Thing. In 2018, Cox published a blog describing his experiences with suicidal ideation in his youth and has since become vocal about the state of mental health in Utah.
“I am proud of the effort undertaken by the Utah Shakespeare Festival to perform Every Brilliant Thing at each school within this great state,” said Cox in a press release. "Many youth today do not have adequate support structures and demand our attention and the encouragement from efforts like this. I believe this production will save lives.”
Jersey said open conversations are crucial to solving the problem.
“Our secrets keep us sick,” he said. “Conversation and community is part of the antidote.”
Two companies will tour the state from Oct. 14, 2019 to Feb. 14, 2020. Every Brilliant Thing will be in Cache Valley Dec. 2 through Dec. 16, though the company is still waiting for confirmation on specific dates.