Live, indoor theatre returns to the Black Box: ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ opens June 11


Live, indoor theatre returns to Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St. Downtown with its production of “Every Brilliant Thing,” written by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe, directed by Ceil Herman and starring Autumn Gieb.

All state public health orders will be complied with, including 33 percent theatre capacity. All audience members will be required to wear masks throughout the performance. “We know the new health order allows completely vaccinated people to not wear masks or socially distance,” Herman said, “but short of requiring vaccine cards, we don’t know how to separate non-vaccinated from fully.”

The play is about a 6-year girl whose mother is in hospital because, according to Dad, “she’s done something stupid.” Mum (it’s a British play) is also finding it hard to be happy. So, the little girl makes a list of “everything that’s brilliant about the world” and worth living for. She leaves the list on her mother’s pillow and knows it has been read because it comes back with spelling corrections. Soon, the list takes on a life of its own.

Gieb stars as the little girl/the play’s narrator and is the only on-stage actor in the show. Audience members “will be invited to play the other roles, from their seats or at a 10-foot distance from Gieb,” in keeping with state public health orders, said Ceil Herman, who directed the play and is the co-owner of Black Box Theatre along with her husband, Peter. She said audience members will also help Gieb’s character put together her list of brilliant things.

Gieb has starred and co-starred in outstanding theatre productions for many years in Las Cruces. Most recently, she was in the cast of “Animal Tales,” which Black Box Theatre presented in its outdoor courtyard in April.

“Every Brilliant Thing” was first performed at the Ludlow Fringe Festival in Ludlow, United Kingdom in June 2013. It premiered in New York City in December 2014.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Fridays, June 11, 18 and 25 and Saturdays, June 12, 19 and 26; 2:30 p.m. Sunday’s June 20 and 27; and 7 p.m. Thursday, June 17.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for seniors and students and $10 for the Thursday night performance only.

The production also includes an art show, “The Turquoise Invitational,” in Black Box Theatre’s


Local artists have contributed a wide variety of eclectic artwork to the show, celebrating the fact that Doña Ana County is at the turquoise, or least restrictive, level of the New Mexico Public Health Department’s statewide Covid-19 county-by-county risk assessment framework. Participting artists are

Diana Ayres, Margaret Bernstein, Christina Campbell, Sandra L. Clifford, Kris Karstedt, Beth LeBlanc, Coy Lowther, Jan Minnow, Mel Stone, Gabriele Teich, Kris Karsteadt and Carol Witham.

Black Box Theatre’s 2021-22 season announced


Black Box Theatre’s 2021-22 season opens with “Every Brilliant Thing.”

Here are the additional shows in the season:

  • Aug. 6-22: “A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking,” written by John Ford Noonan, directed by Robert “Bobcat” Young. The play was produced in 1979 and ran for more than 800 performances off-Broadway in a production staring Susan Sarandon and Eileen Brennan.
  • Sept. 24-Oct. 10: “Laughing Wild,” by Christopher Durang, directed by Ceil Herman. Durang starred in the original off-Broadway production of the play in 1987.
  • Nov. 19-Dec. 5: “Daddy Long Legs,” book by John Caird, music and lyrics by Paul Gordon, directed by Nikka Ziemer. This musical was inspired by a novel, which also spawned the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire.
  • Jan. 28-Feb. 13, 2022: “Radium Girls,” written by D.W. Gregory, directed by Autumn Gieb. The play tells the story of the girls who painted luminous watches with radium only to fall ill in the 1920s.
  • March 18-April 3: “Mother Courage and Her Children,” written by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Joshua Taulbee. The 1939 play is considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century and possibly the greatest anti-war play of all time.
  • May 6-22: “The Standby Lear,” written by John W. Lowell, directed by Ceil Herman. The actor playing King Lear has fallen ill and is understudy steps forward.