Theatre Elision has done it again, produced a musical theater piece that I have never heard of before and is delightfully absurd. This time it is Melancholy Play (a new chamber piece) by playwright Sarah Ruhl and music by Todd Almond.
The play is about a woman, Tilly, who feels a great amount of melancholy. This melancholy makes her very beautiful, the way that she finds the beauty in the simple things. I was very struck by the poetic nature of how Tilly sees the world. It was not surprising at all when everyone that she came in contact with fell in love with her. Her therapist, tailor and the woman who cuts her hair. When one day Tilly gets happy it throws everyone around her for a loop, making them not melancholy, but depressed, to the point that one of them turns into an almond.
It is a strange plot for a play but the absurdness works wonderfully. Combined with the music that is beautiful, performed by a string quartet and a piano player, and the lyrics which are colorful and very silly, the entire play meets a chord of being touching and very funny.
This work, like all of the work I have seen my Theatre Elision, requires actors who can both hit musical notes and comedic notes, and they have yet to disappoint me. Although it seemed on opening night that they were still settling into the rhythm of certain scenes, overall I was very impressed.
I was particularly impressed by Tara Schaefle as Tilly. This is the first time that I can recall seeing her on stage and I hope to be seeing more of her. Her comedic timing was very well placed and her delivery of Tilly's melancholic monologues on the world were both poetic and hyponotic.
Melancholy Play is playing for only one weekend, you have two more chances to see the show at the Crane Theater in Northeast Minneapolis. Click here for more information on how to get tickets. I hope that Theatre Elision is able to do longer runs in the future, I am always so charmed by their work.