Saturday, August 18, 2018

Melancholy Play: A Contemporary Farce Theatre Review

Billie Krishawn (r) stars in Melancholy Play: A Contemporary Farce (Photo: DJ Corey Photography)

A Defense of Melancholy

Merriam-Webster defines melancholy as, "a depression of spirits," which isn't necessarily my idea of a good time; but (rejoice, rejoice) the Constellation Theatre Company's 2018-19 season opener is anything but depressing. In fact, Sarah Ruhl's Melancholy Play: A Contemporary Farce is downright playful, with an abundance of energy, laughs and optimism, tucked inside a tidy 95-minute runtime. Credit director Nick Martin and a superb six-person ensemble, led by the magnetic Billie Krishawn (a star in the making) for transforming Jonathan Dahm Robertson's skeleton set into an ebullient hub of activity and unrequited love. Who knew a bank teller, hair stylist, nurse, psychologist and tailor could be so interesting?

202 Words or Less

After a wordy intro/defense of melancholy from John Austin's Frank, Christian Montgomery takes the stage as Lorenzo, a man (supposedly) void of emotion... from an "unspecified European country," who meets his match muse in Tilly, a bank teller with an appetite for happiness (and perhaps even love.) There are laughs aplenty, as the chase for Tilly's affection begins (for everyone.) It's downright silly at times (but in a good way) and easy-to-follow, with the notable exception of a misplaced song and a quirky plot twist involving an almond(s.) Bottom line? Fun, fun, fun.


Melancholy Play: A Contemporary Farce runs 95 minutes with no intermission, now through September 2 at the Source Theatre (1835 14th Street, NW.) Tickets cost $19-$45, and are available for purchase online or by calling (202) 204-7741.