On April 26, 2023

JAG’s Founder Jarvis Antonio Green takes the stage for comedy ‘Every Brilliant Thing’

Upper Valley theatre brings a Black queer lens to a hilarious, immersive one-person show

April 27 to May 14—WHITE RIVER JCT— JAG Productions is opening its new one-person comedy, “Every Brilliant Thing,” starring Jarvis Antonio Green, April 27 at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction.

Green is JAG’s founder and producing artistic director. This is his debut as an actor in a JAG show.

The show will run through May 14. It is the final theatrical event of its seventh season.

“Every Brilliant Thing,” by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, is a one-person play that’s at once funny, heartwarming, and uniquely immersive. Told in collaboration with the audience, the play is about the healing power of joy, centering around a man caught up in his own personal life story. From the innocent wonder of childhood through the disillusionment of young adulthood, the man is faced with his mother’s depression and his father’s insensitivity.

Needing desperately to spread hope and positivity to his dear parents, he creates a list of everything that has the power to make one happy. This list, full of gratitude and reverence for all life’s colors, starts as small as a single post-it note, but grows exponentially into a delightful decades-long obsession. 

The Guardian calls the show “one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression—and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop … There is something tough being confronted here—the guilt of not being able to make those we love happy—and it is explored with unflinching honesty.”

JAG selected this play as part of its mission to serve as an artistic sanctuary for Black creatives in the American theatre, to catalyze compassion, empathy, love, and community through the lens of the Black experience.

“Every Brilliant Thing” was also chosen because of its fascinating potential to positively affect the audience. While the script’s themes tug on the heartstrings and tickle the funny bone, it’s Green’s engagements with audience members that will ensure every performance is completely one-of-a-kind. 

Not to worry — it’s not anxiety-inducing fare like your average interactive improv show. Instead, the interplay between the protagonist and those in the seats is warmly embedded in the roots of what makes live theatrical experiences sacred. It’s a give and take, in which artist and art lover are unified in moments of deeply relatable epiphany. In short, brilliance shall ensue.

Regarding his personal connection with the play, Green said, “About six months ago, I woke up and completely lost my life force. It turns out it was depression. After several weeks of trying different medications, frequent visits to my therapist and psychiatrist, and countless phone calls with friends and family, I finally reached the other side. Thank God. 

“As the dust settled, I asked myself, ‘What does little boy Jarvis want? What will bring him the most joy?’ And without any hesitation, the answer was obvious — little boy Jarvis wanted to return to his first love, the stage. So, for the first time in my JAG career, I will not be behind the scenes but smack in the middle of center stage where I truly belong,” he said.

“What an honor it is to heal while doing your life’s work and with this piece. In a typical JAG fashion, we are bringing spirituality and ritual to the work, so come and be open for change and prepared to be moved and challenged,” Jarvis concluded.

JAG Productions is quickly gaining a regional reputation among theatre lovers and Black arts leaders. Artists and audiences routinely flock to JAG’s shows from all over Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as Boston, Baltimore, New York City, and more. 

For more information and tickets, visit: jagproductionsvt.com.

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