Written by Leah Mercer
Directed by Amantha May
A performance text that integrates image, poetry, music, movement and narrative, Melancholia exists in the landscape of then and now, of what was and what could be. Melancholia considers what role choice, circumstance and character play in the construction of sadness.
Twin A: Johanna Weller-Fahy
Twin B: Pamela Sabaugh*
The Koken: Cynthia Ward
*Appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association
"Flow my Tears" lyrics by John Dowland, 1600, arranged by Robert D. Clark.
Playwright's Note: Melancholia is a collage of original and sourced material. For example, Henry Fuseli's paintings The Nightmare (1781) and Nightmare (The Incubus) (1781-82) and Albrecht Dürer's engraving Melancholia I (1514) were influential in the development of the piece's vocabulary of imagery. Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) is quoted extensively and writers as diverse as Jeremy Taylor, Edward Abbey, Anton Chekhov, Jane Austen, Billie Holiday, Jean Racine, Nick Drake, Anne Sexton, U2 (paraphrased), Paul Williams, New Order, John Dowland, Sigmund Freud, Germaine Greer and P.L. Travers feature in a patchwork of references woven through my original writing. --Leah Mercer, May 11, 2004
Leah Mercer (Playwright) is currently undertaking her PhD in Performance at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane Australia. The central performance of this study, The Physics Project (a co-creation with Amantha May) had a work-in-progress showing at the Magdalena Australia Festival in 2003. Leah is a Resident Artist with Brisbane ensemble theatreACTIV8 and will direct Joy Gregory's Dear Charlotte, in August. At Magdalena she also provided directorial assistance to Stace Callaghan's solo work between heaven & earth: a dis/embodied pilgrimage. She has directed two solo performances with Joanne Loth Surfacing and Ismene. In 1996 she received a Fulbright Scholarship to complete an MFA in Directing for Theatre at California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. She did Suzuki and Composition Training with the S.I.T.I. Company in LA and trained in Suzuki with Frank: Austral-Asian Performance Ensemble for 3 years. She is currently an arts writer for Real Time and a teacher in the Creative Industries at QUT.
Amantha May (Director) first participated in the forum in 2002 when she directed Abla Farhoud's Game of Patience. She has also worked with the Looking Glass Writer/Director's Lab. Most recently Amantha collaborated with Leah Mercer to create, produce and direct The Physics Project at the Magdalena Festival 2003 in Brisbane, Australia. The Physics Project, in which Amantha also performed, integrated technology and video-conferencing with live performance to explore physics and individual experiences of reality. In New York, Amantha has directed at Manhattan Theatre Source, Solen Productions, and Screaming Venus. She wrote and directed the play The Mermaid which was produced in the New York Fringe Festival 2000. She has Assistant Directed for The Builders' Association in New York and The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Amantha received her MFA in Directing from California Institute of the Arts in 1999. She also holds a BFA in Acting from The Theatre School, DePaul University. Amantha can regularly be seen performing Middle Eastern Dance at various venues around NYC.
Robert D. Clark (Composer) is currently completing a Bachelor of Music degree specializing in composition at the University of Queensland School of Music in Australia. Under the tuition of internationally renowned Australian composer Phillip Bracanin, Robert has composed for a wide array of genres from the concert stage to the theatre and his music is regularly performed around Brisbane. He created the original score for theatreACTIV8's Lonely Planet and composed music for theatreACTIV8's Omon Ra. Robert was recently offered a guest artist position at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at the University of Giessen in Germany by composer/director Heiner Goebbels.
Johanna Weller-Fahy (Twin A) - Off-Off Broadway: God's Comic at La MaMa, ETC (Marie - Lead); Pippin at Columbia University (Catherine); David's Redhaired Death with the 20% Theatre Company (Jean - lead); 2 episodes of Butch McCloud at the WOW Cafe Theatre (Nancy - principal). Johanna has studied with Mark Wing-Davey and John Gorrie at the British American Drama Academy in London; and with Len Berkman, John Hellweg and Jane Bryden at Smith College. She has also studied melodrama and commedia with the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Johanna is thrilled to be joining the members of Voice and Vision for their ENVISION retreat this summer. She is a founding member of the 20% Theatre Company.
Pamela Sabaugh (Twin B) is excited to be participating for the first time in The Lookingglass Forum. Some of her New York credits include: Theater By The Blind (Brecht On Brecht, The Misalliance, Ten Little Indians), Theater Rising (Bedside Manners), Shotgun Productions (Joined At The Head, Undivulged Crimes), The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey (Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet), Expanded Arts ("Antigone"-Antigone), as well as "Irene" on television's Guiding Light. Pamela received the award for Excellence in Performance from the 2000 New York International Fringe Festival, where she appeared as "Agnes" in the premier of her own play, Woman in the Animal Kingdom. She received her MFA in Acting from Rutgers University.
Cynthia Ward (The Koken) comes to The Looking Glass after an extended project with The Stolen Chair Theatre Company, developing and performing in their new work Virtuosa. Before her work in New York, she made theatre in the farthest northwest corner of the country, where the constant drizzle taught her everything she knows about melancholy...