Melancholy Play, November 2010
On October 21, 2010 Larry Murray from Berkshire on Stage wrote a post entitled, ‘Sarah Ruhl’s “Melancholy Play” a surprising, sassy and sexy choice for WAM’
Update! Since this preview was written I have seen this wonderful play and it is surprising, delicious and literally nutty. WAM Theatre lives up to its promise as a wonderful addition to the Berkshires (and Albany) area and the two reviews I most enjoy concur. I urge you to read Leslie Ann Beck’s report in Berkshire Living which captures – perfectly – the spirit of the play, as well as the always reliable critique from Gail Burns in Gail Sez which also has a few caveats.
WAM Theatre is one of the most interesting developments on the Berkshire entertainment scene in years – it’s a theatre company with an interest in showcasing the work of women playwrights like Sarah Ruhl. She wrote the farce that they are in rehearsal for now, Melancholy Play. Ruhl is one of the most acclaimed and accomplished young playwrights on the contemporary scene. She blends deep feelings with quirky comedy in theatrically adventurous ways.
The comedy revolves around Tilly, a charismatic young woman whose melancholic attitude wins the hearts of her psychiatrist, Lorenzo; her boyfriend, Frank; and two lesbian lovers, Frances and Joan. All four fall head-over-heels for her. Her love for them as well as theirs for her gives her such a sense of well-being that she loses her alluring sadness and becomes ecstatically, even irritatingly happy. The result is her four suitors are all dismayed and become melancholic themselves — Frances to the point that she literally turns into an almond. It is left to Tilly to unite Lorenzo, Frank, and Joan in an effort to save poor Frances.
Pretty absurdist sounding, wouldn’t you say? And certainly not the typical family fare on tv. Rather it is a high energy surrealistic romp that playfully assimilates the hectic pace of contemporary life even as it challenges all our preconceptions. In short, theatre that is surprising, sassy and sexy.
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