The Premiere of Melancholy, A Comedy

Work-In-Progress Previews: May 9 - June 6
Runs: June 7 - June 28
The Marsh San Francisco
Saturdays at 5pm | Sundays at 7pm

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Written and performed by Sara Felder
Directed by Michael Socrates Moran

Sound design by Audrey Howard
Visuals by Russ Kiel
Props and Set by Vola Ruben

Lights by Meghan Souther
Developed with David O'Connor
Additional dramaturgy by David Ford

What happens when the woman you just fell in love with leads you to the edge? What happens when the soon-to-be President of the United States is so mired in melancholy that he can't get out of bed? Clearly, only a clown (or history student) can navigate this terrain. Circus artist and solo theater veteran Sara Felder leads us from the Civil War to a Lincoln look-alike convention to the top of UC Berkeley's Campanile in her new solo play about queer love, the16th President and mental illness. A beautiful, campy, poignant, and funny work, "Melancholy" is ultimately the redemptive and ridiculous story of personal liberation.

Special Events

The author of the book that inspired this show is coming to speak. You're invited to this wonderful lecture/discussion. Yes, there will be food.
Sunday,May 31, 4pm: Lecture and Discussion with Joshua Shenk, author of Lincoln's Melancholy. Free. Refreshments and light fare provided.

Lincoln's Melancholy by Joshua Shenk:

Named a best book of the yearby The Washington Post and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, earning prizes from the Abraham Lincoln Institute and the National Mental Health Association-and given as a gift by Bill Clinton to George W. Bush-Lincoln's Melancholy tells, for the first time, the full story of Lincoln's journey through darkness to wisdom. Drawing on seven years of research, Joshua Wolf Shenk shows how the modern science and literature on depression offer insight into Lincoln's remarkable journey, and how Lincoln's story challenges and enriches our understanding of depression.

Joshua Wolf Shenk is a curator, essayist, and author, most recently, of Powers of Two:Seeking the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs (Eamon DolanBooks/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). His first book, Lincoln'sMelancholy, was named one of the best books of 2005 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and TheAtlanta-Journal Constitution, and won awards from The Abraham Lincoln Institute, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the National Mental Health Association. (

We will have informal, informative and really interesting post-show talk backs at the following performances:

Sunday,May 17: "Spirituality and Mental Health"with the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center
Sunday, May 23: "Theway we do the things we do" with Sara Felder and director Michael Moran.
Sunday, June 14: "Bring in the clowns!" with Jeff Raz of theMedical Clown Project. (link to the Medical Clown Project)
Sunday,June 28: "Queer Issues and Mental Health"with Able Christian of N.A.M.I. SF (National Alliance on Mental Illness) (like to NAMI SF)

Artist Bios:

Sara Felder is a solo theater artist, playwright and juggler.  While the themes of her plays and performances are serious, her form is comic, engaging, vaudevillian.  She strives to integrate personal experiences with the urgency of this moment in history.  Out of that mix she creates funny and provocative theater.Sara began performing in 1984 with San Franciso's Pickle Family Circus.  She has also toured with Jugglers for Peace in Cuba, the Women's Circus in Nicaragua, Joel Grey's Borscht Capades and at Festivals of Jewish/Yiddish Culture in Berlin, London, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto.  Through juggling, she has been able to find her theatrical voice, create compelling performance, teach alternative populations and pursue social justice.

Sara's body of work, including radical solo circus theater and witty multi-actor plays, explores political and social frictions: a lone cellist playing defiantly on the war-ravaged streets of Sarajevo; the scientists who - in a gargantuan effort to save the world from Hitler - ended up making the bombs that annihilated the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a gender-bending cross-dressing 19th-century vaudevillian; two urban neighbors who confront racism; victims of radioactive fallout from U.S. nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands; and women named Joan.

Director Michael Socrates Moran is a recent graduate of the MFA Directing Program at the University of California, San Diego. He is the co-artistic director along with William Hodgson of the Ubuntu Theater Project, known forsite-specific, socially-relevant performances. Favorites of his Ubuntu productions include Marcus Gardley's 'Dance of the HolyGhosts', Tim Price's 'The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning','Yellowman,' and 'Waiting For Lefty.' He is grateful to be part ofthe process with Sara in making this piece.

Melancholy, A Comedy was made possible in part by a grant from The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund supported by generous grants form Art Place, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The James Irvine Foundation. The Creative Work Fund commission wasawarded in partnership with the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center. For info on the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center: BayArea Jewish Healing Center provides Jewish spiritual care to those who are ill, dying and bereaved through direct service, education and training, and information and referral.

The first workshop production of Melancholy, a Comedy was made possible in part by a grant from the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative,a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of theArts.

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