Live theater is an experience like no other – it allows an audience to share in a feeling together, as a collective. A theater company in town, Forge Theater, is redefining what it means to attend a theatrical production. They’re putting on a show that celebrates the highlights of life, while also understanding the tragedy that can come with it. 

Forge Theater is the brainchild of artistic director Jake Brockmann, who wanted to highlight a group of people commonly left out of the arts. Jake wanted to “give an homage to the working class people that are often neglected within the arts,” hence the name, Forge Theater. The theater company’s mission is to “actively pursue stories that challenge our perceptions of our neighbors, promote hope, and shine light on our mutual human experience.” Jake started the theater company with the idea to tell stories in a way that is comfortable and accessible to everybody, no matter how much theater they’ve experienced, and to showcase humanity-driven stories. “if you can recognize the people on stage as if you’re looking into a mirror or through a window, it’s going to be a much more significant experience,” he explains.

Forge Theater’s latest production is “Every Brilliant Thing,” starring Paige Vasel. It’s a dynamic one-person show that runs for just under an hour. “Every Brilliant Thing” is written by playwright Duncan Macmillan, and carefully approaches tough subject matter with grace, showcasing the beauty of life against the backdrop of tragedy. The show deals with a loved one’s decision to take their own life, and the beauty that can be found in life despite immense tragedy. Jake describes Paige, the show’s leading actress, as an amazing talent, and says “she blows me away watching her perform.” This is a show you won’t want to miss.

Every Brilliant Thing had its final dress rehearsal at Abraxas Wax on March 12th, and it “couldn’t have gone any better,” Jake says. The show incorporates low-pressure audience participation, and Jake describes these moments as “genuine and unique.” 

“Every Brilliant Thing” will be showcased at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio on London Road in Eau Claire March 14th – 16th and March 21st – 23rd. There will also be pop ups of the show on Tuesday, March 19th at 3rd and Vine, and Tuesday, March 26th at The Good Wives. You can buy tickets here. If you’d like to support Forge Theater, consider paying extra for a ticket or donating at one of the pop up shows. 

After “Every Brilliant Thing,” Forge Theater will continue to put on shows in the Chippewa Valley and has exciting plans in motion. Jake’s passion for theater bleeds through into everything he does, and whether you’re a new theater-goer or a seasoned one, his shows are sure to move you. 

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