Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl

Written By: Sarah Ruhl

Directed By: Skye Noel

Production Dates: April 26th - May 18th, 2012


"In the spring of 2012 Theatrum Elysium invited audiences to delve into the silly side of sadness, presenting a newly re-imagined take on Sarah Ruhl’s thought provoking comedy, Melancholy Play directed by Skye Noel.


A serendipitous encounter propelled us into the strange inner world of Julian, a struggling street musician on the precipice of losing his faith in himself as an artist. From the first defiant strum on his guitar we were treated to a dazzling array of characters, that brought to life the wayward, human struggle of that daffy disposition we call Melancholy. Through the healing voice of his music, and the whimsical spirit of a girl named Tilly, Melancholy Play whisked characters and audiences alike away on a playful journey which reminded us that in order to be found, we must first let ourselves be seen.


Set in an Oz-esque dreamscape of possibility, where any and every passerby may become a character in Julian’s inner world, Melanchoy Play hilariously held the mirror up, offering each of us an opportunity to re-imagine our own journey toward happiness and the many colorful people and places along that “yellow brick road.” Infused with a live, original score and set in a manic universe complete with twins separated at birth, a love-sick psychiatrist and one dramatic almond, Melancholy Play  took our audiences on a therapeutic adventure, that explored the edges of love and learning which often define our sanity, all while never forgetting that laughter is truly the best medicine."


Production Team

Video Gallery

Photo Gallery

Program Notes



In order to be Found, you have to first be willing to be seen. This is the universal existential dilemma of our Everyman, Julian. His silly-sad journey is not unlike our own. We search for meaning and purpose; a way to communicate, a way to be seen and heard. It just so happens in this play, we get to see inside his inventive mind in that process.


Julian’s journey is one of a man trying to find his true voice by accepting himself for who he is. Each character in the play is a zany part of his subconscious screaming to be acknowledged. Seeming defeated and closed off at first, we get to witness Julian fighting back and making the ultimate Choice; the Choice to face the kooky damaged parts of himself head on. We ALL have the same choice to make! We struggle against truly examining the different parts of ourselves we see as faults; our own deep wounds. We sit in the dark laughing at ourselves, refusing to self-evaluate because it’s easier to hide. It’s easier to blame others for our sadness. It’s easier to be silent than to have to fight for what we believe in. It’s easier to close off and beat ourselves up rather than open our hearts and risk being hurt all over again. What a world we are thrown into in this play!


So why do we build a “shell” around us to deaden our feelings? So we can’t be hurt! It’s natural! We fear what we don’t know. What we are Worried will happen. The true strength of humanity can be found in that one decision, Julian’s choice, “I want to see myself for who I truly am.” Once Julian faces these quirky parts of himself, the silly and the sad, he is finally able to see himself for who he Truly is. It is through true Self-acknowledgement and Love that we heal.


Now sit back, relax & remember that Laughter is Truly the Best Medicine!



Skye Noel