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UMass Lowell’s spring production “Melancholy Play” hits the stage

(Photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons) “Mahoney Hall is home of UMass Lowell’s Comley-Lane Theatre”

Riley Fontana
Connector Editor

“Melancholy Play” by Sarah Ruhl is the most recent production from the UMass Lowell Theater Arts Program performance. They put on three shows on April 4, 5 and 6. It was a wonderful production about love, melancholy, happiness and almonds. Directed by A. Nora Long the show was a perfect weekend activity for many students.

The production had a very small cast of eight actors and a cellist but there was no shortage of talent on the stage. All the actors worked together like a well-oiled machine and had immense chemistry through the 70-minute run time. They melded together in a way that brought the story to life and engaged the audience. Having such a small cast made the message of the play even more powerful and impacted the audience that much more.

The play follows Tilly, played by Rebecca Phillips, as everyone around her falls in love with her and explores the way she suffers for it. Her emotions affect Frank (Alexander Colon), Francis (Aryana Duncan-Adams), Joan (Jess Coj Calel) and Lorenzo (Brendan Flynn) who all become melancholy in her presence. As she falls in love with each person and becomes happy, everyone else finds themselves sad and turning into almonds.

Along with the named characters, there was a small chorus made up of Violet Howard, Emily Houth and Coleman Nee who announced scenes, dropped off props and partook in the show’s few songs. These three added so much life and movement to the performance. They would pop out of unexpected places for their cues and bring a special art to delivering and taking props. Jennifer Perkins accompanied on the cello filling the auditorium with the perfect mood-setting music. Perkins was able to bring the much-needed element of music to the show.

The play leaves audiences wondering about their own emotions and how they can impact others. There is no shortage of symbolism throughout the performance that causes audiences to think about what they saw for days. After the curtain call, the audience immediately began to discuss the performance and what they thought becoming an almond really meant.

Comely-Lane Theater was transformed into a small black box theater to create an intimate space between actors and the audience. Fitted with cloud-puffed furniture and a large blue backdrop the audience was immediately transported into the melancholy world of “Melancholy Play”. Many students worked behind the scenes from sets, costumes, lighting and more to bring the play to UMass Lowell.

Everything that went into putting “Melancholy Play” on stage does not go unappreciated by the campus community. Many students and professors worked for months to make sure the performances were great, and the program will continue to put on more amazing shows in the future.

“Melancholy Play” was a wonderful experience for all of those who were able to see it. Perfectly timed during the time when students are stressed about finals and graduation “Melancholy Play” served as a reminder that being too sad can bring unwanted things, such as turning into an almond.

Overall Grade: A


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