Black Box | June 2018

The Journey for Joy – Tyron Hoisten’s One-Man Show “When Heaven Smiles”

words and photos by Josy Jones


Tyron Hoisten takes on the elusiveness of joy by introducing his audiences to seven different men in his piece “When Heaven Smiles,” which he performed at The Well on May 18 and 19.

It all started with a clown (that is not a joke). The clown, one of eight characters played by Tyron, introduces the reason for the search for the definition of joy. The clown left the circus in order to spread joy to others wherever he goes. This leads Tyron to the creation of the “Joyful Seven,” who each provide the audience with a uniquely personal and valid view of the human experience.

Yes, Tyron plays all of the characters in the show. Yes, one person shows can be hard and daunting. However, “When Heaven Smiles” made it look easy. How? Talent. Hoisten’s keen instincts and humor, his use of props, accents and music all carry the show and its message in an engaging, thought-provoking manner. The simplicity of his set ー a black curtain, a table, a chair and two lamps ー helped him shift from one character to the next with little effort without distracting from his performance.  

Although the focus was joy, a light-hearted subject, the content of the show did not lead the audience to believe that joy was easy. Hoisten skillfully painted the beauty of finding true happiness and uses it as a juxtaposition to the pain that the journey to joy can cause. In a search for joy, many of his characters find that it is out of reach. One tangles with suicide. Another cannot fathom joy amidst global warming, the murder of children and the public’s fleeting attention to what really matters. However, overall, the recurring message is clear: joy is not easy to find, but seeking it out is worth it.

Among other hats, Tyron is also a minister. Knowing that about him made his show that much more enjoyable. The backdrop of the old church (now The Well on Market Street), his stage presence, the diversity of the audience and the uplifting tone of the show almost felt like a sermon. It was as if the audience had purposely gathered together to be reminded that no matter how hard things may seem now, we can and will find joy.  

Hoisten’s one-man show was refreshing. And although Hoisten was the only actor, there was never a dull moment. In light of how divided we are socially and politically and how hard everyday life can be, it was nice to be reminded that joy is on its way. And above all, we learned that joy is not happinesses, just as a house is not a home. When we find true joy, no one can take that away.


Follow Tyron Hoisten through his website at:


Josy Jones is an all-work and minimum-play type of adult.