Willow Creek Theatre Company holds ‘Melancholy Play’

After a week off, Willow Creek Theatre Company staged a performance that examined the melancholy feeling of a woman, and left the audience feeling like an almond?


Grace Kreber

Willow Creek Theater Co. presented Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Regen Kuker. This play was preformed on Thursday the 9th through Sunday the 12th. The play follows a young woman Tilly who seems to attract everyone she meets until her melancholy goes away and her connections change.

Anaka Sanders, Arts Reporter

It was a quiet Thursday night at the theatre. The dim lighting and pre-show soundtrack of Taylor Swift gave a whimsical feel to what was yet to come.

Right before the beginning of the show a cellist, later known as Julien, entered the stage with a sense of poise. He sat in the back corner of the show, silent until the very end, playing melodies to fit every scene.

Other than a few chairs that were moved around during scenes, the set was bare. A silver curtain hung in the back for the actors to transition on and off the stage. The cast not only used the stage but would climb down the stairs in front to be right next to the audience.

The hour-and-a-half play began with Lorenzo, a therapist, and Tilly, the protagonist, discussing new medication options to fight Tilly’s melancholy.

Tilly’s dramatic expressions of melancholy were portrayed in a sad but humorous way by actress Lindsay Brooks. Slumped in her chair the majority of the show, she left the audience laughing with her far-out gaze and quick one-liners.

Tilly became distraught, launching off into a ramble of how she longs to be sad. Lorenzo responds with a confession of love toward her.

This kind of thing happens often to Tilly. She met Frank, a tailor, and asked the question, “Why are you like an almond?” All she wanted was to crack him open and look inside. They shared a kiss and Frank felt instantly in love with her.

Frank, played by actor Luke Brooks, portrayed his character with full emotion. Whether he was singing in love or crying on the floor like a “sweaty cow,” he pulled his soul into every word. The audience was able to see the chemistry between Tilly and Frank, which was helped tremendously by the fact that the actors are married in real life.

Tilly then met Frances, a hairdresser. While getting her hair cut, Frances too fell in love with her. This is more of a problem for Frances because she has a girlfriend at home, Joan, a British nurse.

Tilly invited them over along with Lorenzo for a party. After, her melancholy has now vanished. She is happier than ever. Which left those who love her in shock and missing the woman they fell in love with. Leading them into a new feeling of, well, melancholy.

The melancholy overcame Frances, turning her into a plain, oval shaped nothingness, like an almond. The actress was then replaced by a literal almond on stage.

Frantically, Joan alerted Tilly, who rushed in to help. They tried everything from salting her (since everyone knows that’s the best way to eat an almond) to hilariously tossing her almond sized body around the stage.

In a final attempt to bring her back, the group sat in a circle chanting words of encouragement. The lights went dark, and in the middle of the circle stood Frances. The final question the cast had to ponder was, “Are we all almonds now, or did we bring Frances back to Illinois?”

For the first time in the show, they heard the cellist playing in the back, and desperately asked him if he knew the answer. Unfortunately, he did not, because what would you look like if you were all almonds?

Julien, portrayed by Andrew Altmaier, played the show out with a happy tune, leaving the audience wondering if we, too, were now almonds.

Melancholy Play, directed by Sarah Ruhl, was held the first two weekends in September at The Treehouse. There were concessions available, including the treat of the night — an almond bar.