Actors Rob Atkinson and David Bigelow (from left) rehearse a socially-distanced scene that involves an audience participant in the Nanaimo Theatre Group production of the one-person show ‘Every Brilliant Thing.’ (Josef Jacobson/The New Bulletin)

Actors Rob Atkinson and David Bigelow (from left) rehearse a socially-distanced scene that involves an audience participant in the Nanaimo Theatre Group production of the one-person show ‘Every Brilliant Thing.’ (Josef Jacobson/The New Bulletin)

Live theatre coming back as Nanaimo Theatre Group will present one-person show

Theatre company staging COVID-19-conscious production of ‘Every Brilliant Thing’

Live theatre is returning to Nanaimo.

In October the Nanaimo Theatre Group is staging a COVID-19-conscious production of the one-person show Every Brilliant Thing by English playwright Duncan Macmillan.

The play follows a protagonist who starts compiling a list of “brilliant” things that make life worth living after their depressed mother attempts suicide. Director Wendy Wearne describes the play as compassionate, humorous and timely.

“During COVID, when a lot of folks are facing uncertainty, it’s nice to have a piece that does give hope and suggests that we can look at things that individually make us happy,” she said.

Wearne said precautions are being put in place to adhere to coronavirus safety protocols, including disinfecting the Bailey Studio theatre, providing hand sanitizer to patrons, encouraging mask usage, performing contact tracing and reducing seating from 172 to 47, with tickets being sold in pairs and trios so guests can stay in their “bubbles.” In addition, the play is being double-cast and double-crewed.

“We actually rehearse them separately and they of course will perform separately.” Wearne said. “So at any point need somebody be replaced because they’re not feeling well, of if they’ve had some form of community exposure that they were unaware of, we can bring in the next crew.”

Rob Atkinson and David Bigelow will be playing the lead character on alternating nights. They said one-person shows have their challenges.

“In pretty much any show I’ve been in you usually get that little monologue where you get your moment on stage where you get to do your little thing, but it’s like a half a page or maybe a page,” Atkinson said. “And this is 60 pages of just you talking.”

The play is staged “in the round,” meaning that the audience will encircle the performer, with some seats on the stage. Although Every Brilliant Thing is a one-person show, audience members will be called upon to participate in certain ways.

“It’s almost like your acting partner is the audience, which is really different because normally in most shows the audience is a very separate entity. You’re aware of them but you don’t talk directly to them,” Bigelow said. “But in this show you do.”

Wearne said she and producer Wanda Badduke are both registered nurses have been “very front-and-centre for all of the COVID weirdness” and they are flexible when it comes to adapting to health standards. Wearne said they’ve been hard at work since the province moved into Stage 3 of its reopening plan.

“We just believe, like everywhere else, if there’s a possible plan for the arts and particularly for live performance to carry on in COVID land we should apply ourselves and put something forward…” she said, later adding, “It doesn’t feel right that in what might be our potential new normal there isn’t space for live theatre.”

WHAT’S ON … Nanaimo Theatre Group presents Every Brilliant Thing at the Bailey Studio, 2373 Rosstown Rd., from Oct. 14 to 31. Wednesday to Sunday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20, available at 250-758-7224. Production may be extended another week.

RELATED: Nanaimo Theatre Group begins 2019-20 season with ‘The Odd Couple’

RELATED: Nanaimo Theatre Group stages mistaken-identity comedy



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusTheatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Sooke Fine Arts Show will be online again this year, showcasing unique artworks from Vancouver Island and B.C.’s coastal island artists from July 23 to Aug. 2. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke Fine Arts Show goes virtual for second year in a row

Art exhibition and show set for July 23 to Aug. 2

Vancouver Island Symphony conductor Pierre Simard is releasing his new synthwave album ‘Plandemic’ on March 5. (Photo courtesy Olivia Simard)
Vancouver Island Symphony conductor releasing side-project EP of electronic music

Pierre Simard, recording as Plan Omega, presents ‘Plandemic’

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
Vancouver Island children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Arts Laureate Barbara Adams joins artist Luke Ramsey and Mayor Kevin Murdoch in front of the Parade of Play mural at the Oak Bay High track. (Black Press Media file photo)
Curtain draws to a close on Oak Bay arts laureate’s term

Barbara Adams has been a champion for arts in the community

The students in the Timberline Musical Theatre program are rehearsing this year’s production, Once Upon a Mattress, three days per week after school in preparation for their upcoming virtual performances. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Island high school’s musical theatre program hoping for last-minute ticket surge

Popular annual run of Timberline shows costs $7,000-$8,000 to stage, sold $750 in tickets

Steve Bick is coming out of his COVID cocoon with a curated compilation of original tracks by West Coast musicians. (Submitted photo)
Curated album showcases West Coast musicians

‘Locals Only – Volume One’ features an eclectic mix of tunes from musicians living on the Pacific Rim

WILDLIFE TREE: Tofino Poet Laureate Christine Lowther stands next to a giant cedar tree on District Lot 114, the site of Tofino’s controversial affordable housing project. The tree was pinned with an official Ministry of Forests yellow wildlife tree sign to educate fallers that the tree needs to be left standing for food, shelter and nesting. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino author Christine Lowther calling for poetry about trees

“I’m thrilled to be of service to trees through poetry.”

West Coast-themed metal art by Nanaimo artists Hayley Willoughby (pictured), her father Jack and partner Blair LeFebvre is on display in the window of Lululemon at Woodgrove Centre from now until March 13 as part of the store’s monthly local artist program. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Metal artists present cross-generational show at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Work by Hayley Willoughby, her partner and father on display in Lululemon window

Vancouver Island Symphony principal violinist and concertmaster Calvin Dyck is among the musicians performing in the upcoming Salmon and Trout concert. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Vancouver Island Symphony will make a splash with fish-themed quintets concert

Performance was to take place in November but was rescheduled due to COVID-19

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Most Read