Archikulture Digest
Every Brilliant Thing

Every Brilliant Thing

The Garden Theatre • Winter Garden, Florida

Featuring John O’Hurley

When you’re a kid, you just don’t understand what your folks are talking about most of the time. And when you’re an adult, things only grow murkier, and knowledge doesn’t help much. That’s where we stand tonight.

Mr. O’Hurley started, as most of us do, as a small child wondering at the odd behavior of mom and dad. Then the teenage years kicked in, and sex reared its ugly head only to lead him into the confusion of adulthood and its demands on time, energy, and money. Finally, he will get grey and wrinkly, and still nothing will make sense.

Personally, I now have a teenaged girl in residence, due to an offhand remark my wife made to my stepson. What can I do? Write about it here?

Mr. O’Hurley’s life is similar: plans go awry, long-term commitments are negotiated in a flash of lust, and next thing you know, you’re picking out a cemetery plot. Our protagonist’s journey parallels all our paths. His mom was suicidal, Dad was hung up on jazz, but Mr. O’Hurley found a path through this mess and began collecting a list of positive things in life, starting with “a bowl of cereal” and ending with “a warm puppy.” Along the way, life was more complicated. Parental failures, teenage angst, college-age lust, attempted suicide, and recovery. Mr. O’Hurley worked on his list of good things — they improbably grew to 1 million happy entries, all neatly printed out on reams of paper and carts full of binders. It’s an astoundingly soul-cleansing experience, and I’m sure I could add a few things to his list if I tried.

This engaging one-man show had a rather small audience in the spacious Garden Theatre, and about 30 patrons were selected to sit in as O’Hurley spun his tale. That was more folks than were left in the seats, so we all snuggled up and most of us non-volunteers got front-row seats. The story ranged from depressing to joyous and covered most steps in life as a human.

O’Hurley is a skilled and sympathetic narrator, and from time to-time numbers were called out and someone in the audience would announce “ice cream” or “walking in the rain with your sweetheart” or “warm socks.” Even the sad items felt joyous, and the takeaway is this: you are only sad if you let yourself be. And if you want to be happy, you can just be happy, and you will meet some happy people to help you along.

I suggest you drop in and bring a few happy memories to share. After all, we all want to be in the happiness club. I do, anyway. ◼

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