Trinity’s ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’: A Tiny Beautiful Play


Set designer Baron E. Pugh grabs our attention as we enter Trinity Rep’s Dowling Theatre and figure out that we are in a post office. And once again those permanent pillars are integrated into the design.

We are introduced to the play by Gunnar Manchester, the promising actor/musician from Cranston who has caught our attention in a variety of “off-Trinity” productions.

We then meet Sugar (Angela Brazil), the new advice columnist who puts a part of herself into every response.

“Tiny Beautiful Things” then introduces the audience to the letter writers, a motley crew of people with problems they rely on Sugar to solve for them.

Brazil has been with the company for as long as I can remember, finally getting a starring role that she deserves as the advice giver who draws on her own experiences to help the people who pour out their souls to her.

The ensemble cast of Stephen Berenson, Phyllis Kay, Brian Mceleney, Marcel Mascaro and newcomer Jenna Lea Scott play a variety of characters relying on a person they don’t know to answer their questions.

Sugar gets emotionally and personally involved in every letter, always ending with an emphasis on forgiveness, love for one another and self and going on despite obstacles.

While I have to admit that Joyce liked the play, based on actual letters written to Cheryl Strayed based on her book and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalas, better than I, I did enjoy the ensemble acting and the energy that Brazil brought to her exhausting role.

I wish it had a bit more humor in it.

Timing is right for a play that realizes that we all have problems to deal with, and we all could use a little empathy, love and most of all, hope.

“Tiny Beautiful Things” is at Trinity Rep through February 13. Call 351-4242 for reservations. Masks and proof of vaccinations are required.


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