“Everyone hears voices. I’m treated like I’m broken for admitting it. ”
Can a weekend trip to visit family ever be smooth?
Nick was hoping for a quick dinner at his brother Reid’s house when he stopped by with his seventeen-year-old adopted son, Gerome, on their way to meet Gerome’s birth mother. Gerome was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, and he wants to know more about his family history. Though Reid and his family wreak havoc with their well-meaning but misguided ideas about Gerome’s diagnosis, they manage to convince Nick and his son to stay the night, even after they find Gerome on the roof ready to demonstrate backflips. The dinner pit stop becomes a tense weekend-long event full of claims and questions as the family attempts to “un-crazy” Gerome, leading them all to a dangerous breaking point.
With truth, humour, and pathos, Quick Bright Things explores a family’s struggle with understanding mental health, their ways of expressing love, and what it ultimately means to be “okay. ”
Christopher Cook is a queer theatre artist and therapist living, creating, and playing in Vancouver. His writing credits include The Better Parts of Mourning, Strip, Gerty—?Live! In Concert!, and Quick Bright Things. As a therapist, he specializes in counselling members of the queer and trans communities. As a clinician–researcher, his research focuses on exploring the therapeutic significance of artmaking and creativity. Whether through therapy or theatre, his goal is to engage your head, heart, and body.
Reid: (to Nick) You’re a fucking layabout now?
Nick: I’m home-schooling Gerome.
Reid: (to Gerome) What’s he teaching you?
Michael: (to Nick) Have you taught him black holes?
Marion: Michael did a presentation on black holes in science today.
Nick: We haven’t done—
Gerome: (quickly, softly) Black holes: leftover star bits with gravitational tidal forces strong enough to crush everything while tearing it to nothingness at the same time.
Marion: Wowzers, there’s our A+ student!
Michael: Actually, they’re black and they suck up light is the answer. “Black hole. ” Can you do like a backflip?
Gerome shakes his head.
How about a front flip?
Gerome shakes his head.
Gawd, what’s wrong with you?
Marion: There’s nothing wrong with him, hun. I can’t do a backflip either.
Michael: We know you can’t Mary-rion. But what’s he got?
Marion: Why don’t you tell Geromey about gymnastics?
Reid: Hey, how ’bout we not call it that? “Gymnastics. ” He’s not hanging out with a bunch of six-year-old girls and doing somersaults.
Marion: (to Nick) We signed him up for after-school gymnastics, and he loves it.
Reid: Acrobatic Arts! Your nephew—my son—is a competitive gymnast. No joke, this kid—prodigy. You didn’t hear it from me cuz I’m biased, but put these words together in your head: Michael Pinel—Pommel Horse Genius—Olympics 2028, Los Angeles. Be there—he’s gonna get a gold for his ol’ man, I swear to god!
Michael: Can you do a backflip, Uncle N?
Michael: I can.
Gerome puts his hand up.
Marion: Uh—yes, Geromey?
Reid: Look at that plate! Pile of meat—decimated! My man, you’re kicking a vegan’s ass right now. This is you getting better.
Marion: But save room for dessert—
(announcing) Everyone save room for dessert! We’re having pineapple!