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Loyola Theatre and Dance to Produce Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play

By Loyola University on Fri, 10/14/2022 - 14:51

Guest artist Ryder Thornton directs 2022-2023 Season Opener

(New Orleans - October 14, 2022) This November, the Loyola Department of Theatre Arts & Dance (TAD) will produce Melancholy Play, a contemporary farce by Sarah Ruhl. The play will be directed by guest artist, Ryder Thornton and feature a team of professional designers from around New Orleans. The performance will serve as the 2022-2023 season opener.

Melancholy Play follows the “sometimes” melodramatic bank teller, Tilly. Tilly, whose melancholy is of such exquisite quality that it causes every stranger she meets to fall in love with her. One day, inexplicably, she becomes happy, and wreaks havoc on the lives of her paramours.  Her hairdresser becomes so melancholy that she turns into an almond and it’s up to Tilly to get her back.

Sarah Ruhl is an award-winning American playwright, author, essayist, and professor. Some of her other plays include Stage Kiss, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2010); The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2005; Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play (Pen American Award, Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play); Demeter in the City (nine NAACP Image Award nominations); For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday. Her plays have been produced on Broadway and across the country as well as internationally, and translated into fourteen languages.

Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her MFA from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. She is the recipient of a Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a PEN Center Award for mid-career playwrights, a Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, and a Lilly award. She is a member of 13P and New Dramatists and won the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006.

Ryder Thornton has been working as a theatre artist for over 20 years and has directed over 40 productions at venues throughout the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the Dramatist Guild. He recently directed Machinal for Tulane, which received a Big Easy Award for Best University Production.

As a theatre scholar, he specializes in modern tragedy, the history of directing, and the work of Eugene O’Neill. He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at national and international conferences. Beyond his graduate work at Temple and UCSB, he received additional training from The American Conservatory Theater and SITI Company.

“The Department of Theatre Arts and Dance is thrilled to kick off its season with playwright Sarah Ruhl’s vibrant work, Melancholy Play,” said Sal Mannino, artistic director. “This production has been a rewarding journey for our student-artists and guest artists alike, and we’re excited to share this collaborative work of art with the Loyola community.”

Melancholy Play will run October 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2022 at the Marquette Theater in Marquette Hall on Loyola’s campus. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

To purchase tickets, visit “Loyola Presents” on the Loyola website