"Suicide prevention" and "comedy theater" are two ideas that aren't natural partners. One Montana theater is hoping to change that. With the help of a $50,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Helena-based Grandstreet Theatre is touring with the one-person suicide-prevention comedy production, "Every Brilliant Thing." 

"Every Brilliant Thing," a one-person comedy alternating between actors Rosie Seitz Ayers and Ryan Eggensperger, will tour Montana for 50 performances, ending the run in August. 

"This is a unique play that delivers a unique angle on suicide prevention as it utilizes humor a audience interaction as vehicles to deliver messages of connection, resilience, gratitude and hope," said tour booking agent Perri May. "The actors are going to approach audience members as they come in the door and ask them if they would be comfortable reading items off of a note card ... [the actor] builds this list to cope with his mother's depression and then his own depression." 

After the performance, May says a panel of local mental health professionals will be at the theater to answer questions and talk to the audience. 

"[The panelists] will speak to the issue of suicide prevention, what local resources are available, how to access local resources," May said. "That's what we want the focus of the talkback to be." 

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthy Families grant was awarded to Grandstreet Theater after a successful run of "Every Brilliant Thing" in Helena last September. 

"It was very well received and well attended, and we were surprised by the numbers we got," May said. "It'll make you laugh and it might bring a tear to your eye as well." 

"Every Brilliant Thing" will be at the Shane Lalani Center in Livingston on July 11, the Emerson Center in Bozeman on July 18, Belgrade High School on July 19 and at the Elling House Arts and Humanities Center in Virginia City on July 16. More information can be found at grandstreettheatre.com.