Melancholy Play stirs sexy with sad and adds a twist of absurdity. The comic production by Sarah Ruhl (who penned the Pulitzer-nominated The Clean House, which was staged last year at the Alley) stars Tilly, a bank teller whose ho-hum personality attracts both boys and girls. A love quadrangle ensues as a psychiatrist, a hairdresser, a tailor and a nurse all vie for Tillys affection. (Ruhl apparently knows how to keep an audiences attention: girl-on-girl, nurse action.) Everything comes to a halt when Tilly moves out of her melancholic state. The lovers either become disinterested or assume a depressed state themselves, but remember this is a comedy. Characters may be shedding tears, but they also draw laughs as they react to Tillys depression and sudden happiness. Frances the hairdresser gets so down she turns into an almond literally. See how the others go nuts at 8 p.m. daily through February 26, with no show on February 24. Hamman Hall, Rice University (Entrance No. 20 off Rice Boulevard). For tickets and information, call 713-348-7529 or visit www.rice.edu/players. $5 to $10.
Feb. 21-23, 8 p.m.; Feb. 25-26, 8 p.m., 2008