The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey


Veteran Raleigh actor David Henderson portrays every character in a small Jersey shore town as they unravel the story of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant 14-year-old boy who has gone missing. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is gone, Leonard becomes an unexpected inspiration as the town’s citizens question how they live, who they love and what they leave behind. The play is an amazing tour-de-force one-man performance that will enthrall you as several characters are brought fully to life without the use of costumes or props.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys human-centered stories, who can’t resist a detective yarn no matter how basic and who enjoys watching an actor impersonate a town full of kooky yet hilariously recognizable characters, then click off the television and head to Leggett Theatre at William Peace University. This show, which was an off-Broadway sleeper, is what you’ve been waiting for.

James Lecesne is the author of the screenplay for “Trevor,” the Oscar-winning short film that gave rise to the founding of the Trevor Project, an organization focused on suicide prevention among LGBT youth. Lecesne has a moral, but fortunately it’s a darn good one. Chuck, musing in his Shakespearean way, asks when reflecting on the troubled yet inordinately bright life of Leonard: “Is there anything in this world more unexpected than a human being?”