Despite his initial decision to step away from performing, Jon Santos was lured back by the persuasive powers of Jenny Jamora, who returns to the director’s chair for both the English and Filipino versions of Every Brilliant Thing.
Recognizing Santos’ immense talent and the unique touch he could bring to the production, the director made a compelling case for his involvement in Every Brilliant Thing. The director’s belief in Santos’ ability to breathe life into the character and captivate audiences ultimately convinced him to reconsider his retirement and take on this new endeavor.
“It was Jenny Jamora who convinced me to accept this project. When I said I was retiring, a lot of things were happening back then, especially in my personal life, but here I am, doing the things close to my heart,” Santos told Manila Standard Life alluding to the announcement he made last year.
Santos joins The Sandbox Collective’s Sandbox Fest 2023 to bring a Filipino-translated performance of Duncan Macmillan and Johnny Donahoe’s Every Brilliant Thing to the local stage.
“In my experience, the takeaways in shows are much more intense when the setup is an actor-to-live audience. You look at the eye of an actor and the message is shot right through your heart. It’s exciting and overwhelming, but also heartwarming to realize that an actor can help change perspectives or spark conversations about mental health,” Santos went on.
Santos has made his mark on the Philippine theater scene, recently playing roles in Ang Huling El Bimbo and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Santos is best known for writing and producing comedy shows, and for impersonating pop culture and political personalities such as Vilma Santos and the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
More recently, Santos made waves in the Philippine drag scene after being one of the alternating judges on the hit reality show Drag Race Philippines, a local franchise of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Every Brilliant Thing is a one-act, interactive play that follows the story of a young child growing up with a parent suffering from mental illness. The show has been staged in multiple countries and has also been translated into different languages such as Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, and Hebrew.
Tasked with Every Brilliant Thing’s Filipino translation is award-winning playwright, translator, actor, and director Guelan Luarca.
With its Filipino version ready to take the stage, Every Brilliant Thing expands its reach and potential by giving Filipino audiences the opportunity to discuss mental health in a safe space and through their native language.
What The Sandbox Collective hopes to achieve through this original translation is to continue to normalize the conversation on mental health and to encourage healthy discourse in the Philippines where depression and grief continue to be taboo topics among more traditional households.
Joining Santos and reprising their roles in the solo-actor show are model, actress, and TV host Teresa Herrera and theater actress, multimedia host, and entrepreneur Kakki Teodoro. Both Herrera and Teodoro received Gawad Buhay Award nominations for their previous Every Brilliant Thing runs, with Teodoro bagging the prize for Female Lead in 2020.
Every Brilliant Thing will run alongside Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs in a twinbill (two shows, one ticket) experience in this season’s Sandbox Fest 2023.
Sandbox Fest 2023 will run at the Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, 2/F Maybank Performing Arts Theater, 9th Avenue cor. 26th Street, BGC, Taguig City from June 17 to July 15. Tickets are now available through Ticketworld or through The Sandbox Collective at +63917 152 5560.