One-woman play shines spotlight on depression

Edmund Silvestre - The Philippine Star
One-woman play shines spotlight on depression
Theatergoers play bit parts and read out lines in the audience-interactive one-woman play on depression and suicide called Every Brilliant Thing, headlined by theater actress and model Teresa Herrera starting tomorrow, Feb. 2 at the Maybank Performing Arts Center at the BGC in Taguig City.

MANILA, Philippines — If you’re considering suicide, don’t do it. Things will get better. They may not be brilliant, but they will be better.

Such is the thought-provoking message of a new one-woman interactive play about depression and suicide called Every Brilliant Thing to run starting tomorrow, Feb. 2, to Feb. 18 at the Zobel De Ayala Recital Hall at Maybank Performing Arts Theater (26th St. cor. 9th Ave.) at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

At a sneak preview of this critically-acclaimed play, theater thespian and model Teresa Herrera gives a strong acting as a woman narrating her plight as a seven year old who witnessed how her mother’s depression escalated that led to suicide attempts. That innocent girl, who knew nothing about life, tries to convince her mother to stay by making her a long list of wonderful things that makes life worth living — from ice cream and puppies, to staying up past bedtime to watch TV.

The play’s success relies on its audience that virtually shares the spotlight with Teresa in this heart-wrenching and hilarious theater experience. At the start of the show, Teresa personally hands out sticky notes which every audience member will read out loud or act out when called upon according to the number indicated.

Based on the work of English playwrights Duncan Macmillan and Johnny Donahue and staged across worldwide (and even filmed for an HBO documentary), the Manila production is directed by Jenny Jamora and presented by The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical.

In a chat with The Philippine STAR, Teresa described why she’s so passionate about doing a one-person play for the first time.

“I love the story, I love the structure of it, the writing is so brilliant,” said the actress, best known for the plays Dogeaters and Love, Loss and What I Wore and as TV host for Project Runway Philippines 1 and 2. “I love that they put the context of mental health in a beautiful narrative. It’s so relatable and it’s so relevant now. I’m so excited to just co-create the show with different audiences and every show’s gonna be different.”

“I’ve had my experiences with mental health… I had a friend who committed suicide,” she said. “It’s a serious topic and I think we must be able to openly discuss it now and get people to talk about it.”

“People faced with depression and anxiety disorders have no easy access to professional help and support in the Philippines,” she added. “Many don’t get help and the problem gets worse. They feel ashamed.”

The Manila production has partnered with mental health experts to have a post-show dialogue with the audience. They also offer support groups, suicide hotlines, mental health consultations and various coping mechanisms to raise awareness.

Tickets are available at ticketworld.com or call 0956-2004909 for more information.


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