Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical | Piven Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Stephanie Stockstill, Lauren Paris, and Emily Grayson

Stephanie Stockstill, Lauren Paris, and Emily Grayson

Chris Zoubris Photography

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 7 2015
Price: $20-$35
Re-created as a chamber musical, Sarah Ruhl’s 2002 Melancholy Play (which also played at Piven) feels freshened up, albeit still a meandering meditation on sadness and why it can be so sexy. Stephanie Stockstill is a charming delight as Tilly, a bank teller who scoops up paramours with her sweet suffering and moody melodrama. You could compare her magic to the allure of Europe, where, as her therapist Lorenzo (played with appropriately over-the-top passion by Ryan Lanning) says, "suffering is a brand of citizenship." When Tilly comes home floating on air with a goofy, American-style smile on her face, reality becomes even more farcical as those who remain afflicted with melancholy are suddenly turned into almonds. (And believe it or not, the show's composer is named Todd Almond.) There’s little here in the way of plot development or deeper themes, but it's a fun hour and a half with relatable caricatures. —Marissa Oberlander

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