“Every Brilliant Thing”

“Every Brilliant Thing” August 14, 2019


A panorama of Kolob Canyon
Kolob Canyon, in Zion National Park, between St. George and Cedar City, Utah
Photo by G. M. Hatfield, Wikimedia CC


My wife and I attended a performance of Every Brilliant Thing this afternoon up in Cedar City.  It’s a funny (though occasionally touching) and fast-paced one-man play by Duncan Macmillan (with Johnny Donohoe) about . . . depression and suicide.  Michael Doherty did extremely well with it, and it obviously had an emotional impact on more than a few in the audience.  Afterwards, as Doherty stood in the foyer of the theater, I saw several people come up to him with tears in their eyes and I saw him giving them long hugs.  I think that, for some, this was almost therapy.  Cathartic.  I hope so.


Afterwards, we went out to dinner with friends at Chef Alfredo’s.  My wife and I think that Alfredo’s may be the best restaurant in Cedar City.  This is our second or third time there, and I certainly enjoyed what we had today.


Driving up and back this morning and then this evening, I loved the varied colors of the landscape and how they change with the movement of the sun overhead.  This is a glorious area.




I felt sad, last night, complaining about the Festival’s production of Macbeth.  (See “The ‘Scottish play’ in Cedar City.”)  Regrettably, though, I stand by what I wrote.  Our friend, unfamiliar with the play but having read the short synopsis in the program, said that he had a difficult time following the plot.  That’s a common complaint about Shakespeare by many modern theater-goers, of course, but our experience has been that very good acting can largely overcome the language barrier that separates early twenty-first century audiences from the late-sixteenth and very early seventeenth-century crowds for whom Shakespeare wrote.  When our then quite young children wanted to come along with us to the plays, for example, we were astonished at how well they were able to understand what was going on.  But last night’s performance simply wasn’t very helpful in that regard.


After I posted my comments last night, I noticed that Steve Densley had recently been down here for the Shakespeare Festival.  I respect his judgment very much, in Shakespearean matters as elesewhere, and he has authorized me to quote what he posted on Facebook:


If you have not yet seen Hamlet at the Shakespeare Festival this year, drop what you were doing and go see it now! We all agreed it was the best Hamlet we have seen, including the time Heather saw Daniel Day-Lewis in London. Also, Henry VI Part 2 was exceptionally good. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off during Henry VI Part 3. Partly that is because Henry the sixth part three is not a very good play. However, the director also made some risky decisions that did not really pay off and were pretty much just weird. In any event, the 4 and 1/2 hour long experience went more quickly than we expected. The Book of Will was a fun way to start out our experience at the festival but it was not as interesting or engaging as I was hoping. Finally, Macbeth was a huge disappointment. It is hard to imagine how a production of Macbeth could lack drama, emotion or intrigue. But this one did. We did not see Twelfth Night or Joseph. So many plays! So little time!


I was at once pleased and saddened that Steve’s reaction to this year’s Cedar City Macbeth was like mine.


Posted from St. George, Utah



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