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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

“Every night, I laugh,” said Rachael Jones, a senior BFA acting major and the director of “Melancholy Play.”

“There is such a life force and energy with this play that I have not seen before. This show reminded me of why I love theater,” she said.

The eccentric world of “Melancholy Play” comes alive Feb. 18, 19 and 20 in the Squitieri Studio Theatre in the Phillips Center.

In “Melancholy,” intricate detailing of human emotion is discovered as each character’s internal flaw is interlaced with the relationship he or she has to the main character, Tilly — the  girl who feels everything.

The play is witty in a nonpompous way, and it is portrayed by a tight-knit cast, all of who demonstrate their deep understanding of their characters’ inner faults.

John Wells, a UF English major, said, “I play a European character.  When he grew up as a child, he was expected to suffer.  Because she [Tilly] feels so much, people are drawn to her.  She is open about her feelings. We are programmed to somehow disguise our emotions.” 

     The play is said to ironically celebrate the act of feeling and shows that happiness sometimes alienates people rather than brings them together.

The show is not just for those who enjoy psychological analysis. It may also be appealing to those not involved in the arts.

“People think it’s so heavy, it can be daunting to them.  It’s just a show you can watch, a different way of theater,” Jones said.

Debra Christopher, a fourth-year BFA acting major who plays the lead role of Tilly, believes  the play is light in nature but has a reflective meaning.

   “People shut off feelings and are not immersed in everyday life.  It’s beautiful to see what happens when this person opens up so intensely.  In our culture, we put up walls,”  Christopher said.

Christopher’s character, Tilly, suffers in a way so that everyone vicariously lives through her grievances. 

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In the play’s pursuit of searching for true emotion or need for reaction in the desensitized society that prevails, life exists beyond mindless day-to-day activities and exists in the actors’ studio, among the cast — open and raw.

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