*Trigger Warning: This play contains discussions of drug addiction, sexual assault, and abuse*
“Tiny Beautiful Things” is a story written by Cheryl Strayed and adapted to a stage play by Nia Vardalos, most notable for her movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The story is a collection of real letters Strayed received during her days writing for an advice column titled “Dear Sugar.” The book has wonderful reviews about the meaningful advice that Cheryl Strayed gave and how it changed their lives.
I knew the contents of the play earlier than most as I attended the theatre interest meeting at the beginning of September. They briefly explained the plot and mentioned how heavy the topics in the play were.
As a first-year, I still had the high-school-theatre mindset, where we would have to censor the word “hell” to “heck,” and we couldn’t put on a production of “Chicago” because it was “too scandalous.” I was interested in what Theatre Fairfield meant exactly by heavy topics and I made sure to check before purchasing tickets. I was a bit surprised to see that they would be talking about addiction, assault and abuse, especially since I hadn’t seen a trigger warning online when buying tickets. I went with my friend to the show, but I had to warn her before because she had no idea. I would recommend doing your own research on the contents of this show or any before watching.
While I was shocked by the content, I would never have expected the rawness and openness that the play presented. It felt realistic compared to the PG-13 performances I had seen years prior and I found it different to watch a show that displayed some of the darkest parts of life and the ways to find the light again. The actors’ performances made it feel like these were real people talking to you and telling you their stories of brokenness and heartbreak.
I wouldn’t describe this play as entertaining, but I mean this in the best way. It’s meant to be insightful. It prompts you to really stop and think about what you’re hearing, and the truth behind what Nora Jacobi’s ‘25 character, Sugar, is saying to these letter writers.
I’ve always found anonymous advice to be something that didn’t work for me personally, because I always believed that the person giving advice should know the full extent of who you are before giving advice. But Sugar’s advice is so true that I found myself agreeing with everything she said.
The most moving moment of the show for me was a conversation between a letter writer, played by Ryan Theobald ‘26, and Sugar. The letter is from a man who lost his son in a drunk driving accident and his monologue depicts the emptiness he feels after the accident and how he’s been faking his happiness ever since. It was the last letter discussed in the show and Sugar’s response perfectly describes the way it feels to experience a trauma and how hard it can be to interact with your loved ones after. Not only were both of the actors’ performances fantastic, but it was also a great description of both sides of life. It is for those who are experiencing the dark moment and for those who are there to help.
Overall, I really enjoyed the show! It isn’t your traditional family-friendly show I would say, but it is a refreshing show with a beautiful message. The cast did an amazing job. I congratulate Katharine Gutkowski ‘26, Theobald, Jacobi, Lillie Kortrey ‘23 and Anthony Lupercio ‘26 – you all were fantastic and exemplified the emotions of the play phenomenally. Bravo!