Our Brilliant Director: Sydney Parks Smith


Opening weekend for Every Brilliant Thing has come and gone and there are only few seats available for the remaining run of the production. Being a busy bee is no new concept for Sydney, and it shows with how much she is involved with OpenStage alone! Sydney started working with OpenStage around 1997 and has been a dedicated company member since. Last season, she played M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and Directed Avenue Q. This season, Sydney has become the Producing Artistic Director for OpenStage and directed our season opener. We got the chance to chat with Sydney about Every Brilliant Thing, and here's what she had to say:

What is the rehearsal process like when directing a one-person interactive show?
Awkward at first. I am her director and (sometimes) scene partner. Happily, Jess and I have worked together before and she is one of my close friends.
How does this process differ from other shows you've directed?
Jess and I worked together to find a process that would be the most beneficial to her for memorization and finding the moments in the show without anything becoming route or stale. So much of the show is about audience interaction, it was exciting, as a director, to be a part of the action.
What has been the most challenging part about directing this show?
Balancing the aspects of the show: Storytelling, elements of stand up comedy, improv, scripted material...and all the brilliant things!
What has been the most fun / rewarding part?
Working in a different way than a more typical show.
Favorite line in the show?
The final line in the show...I am not going to give it away. You will just have to see the show! The line gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. For me, it encapsulates the magic of a moment and the melancholy of remembering it.
Favorite "brilliant thing?"
This changes everyday for me...
In the play: Peeling off the wallpaper in one intact piece.
In real life: Floating on inner tubes in my mom's pool with my kidlets, holding hands and talking about silly things.
Why do you think audiences should come see this show?
We all need to take a moment and see the the bits of brilliance and joy around us. Living life can be hard, quite frankly. The experience of this play lets you know you are not alone and causes you to engage in the world around you.

Every Brilliant Thing

By Duncan MacMillan, with Jonny Donahoe

Directed by Sydney Parks Smith

September 27 – October 19, 2019

“One of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression.” -The Guardian

1. Ice cream. 2. Water fights. 3. Staying up past your bedtime. 4. Things with stripes. 5. People falling over. Every Brilliant Thing is a one-woman tour-de-forceabout a child’s fierce, flawed attempt to make sense of adult unhappiness by creating a list of everything that makes life worth living. As we follow the child to adulthood, the list becomes a touchstone that shines a gentle theatrical light on the way sweetness and sorrow are both magnified by tragedy. Exceptionally warm, unflinchingly honest and gloriously funny, this jazz-inspired story captures the irrepressible resilience of the human spirit and the capacity to find delight in the everyday.

Debut Theatre – 827 Riverside Ave