Even a play about despair, like “Every Brilliant Thing,” can be uplifting.

“It’s about hope and joy and about finding joy in the little things,” said director Bethany Hamilton Sandvik. “The witty play shines a compassionate light on the impact of suicide and reminds us of all the things that make life brilliant.”

Starring Annamarie Victor, it’s a 70-minute, no-intermission, one-woman show with audience interaction. 

Victor portrayed artist Olive Fell in the Cody Monologues, is active in Cody Community Theater and has worked with Sandvik for eight years, starting when they were student and teacher at Cody High School.

The exchanges with the audience members occur when they suggest brilliant things, which require Victor to improvise. That can be “very challenging,” Sandvik said, yet the result is synergistic. “It’s kind of this communal effort.”

The play offers reasons to live counterpoised against urges not to. 

“It’s how a girl deals with her mother’s depression and suicide, how naïve we can be as children or young adults,” Sandvik said.

When she first saw an abridged version of the show at a Wyoming High School State Drama Competition in 2016, Sandvik recalled that show as “a truly a brilliant performance, and I fell in love with the play immediately. It was so cathartic.”

Though the work originated in London, Sandvik changed the setting to Wyoming so it would resonate better with the audience. 

“We say, ‘at the hospital, not at hospital,’ and we don’t spell colour with a ‘u,’” she joked before adding a serious note. “It’s a universal theme and message.”

If you go

The play “Every Brilliant Thing” will be presented 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Cody Center for Performing Arts, 1527 18th. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and military. They are available online at studiotheatre.org or call CCPA at (307) 527-7398. 

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