Billed as a “black comedy,” Melvin Wants to Die
– authored by local playwright MR Leclair – is only as dark on its surface as its subject matter, which is, well, dark. Protagonist Melvin is winding down his last days on earth in hospice care, plucking away at the pills of other residents in hopes of achieving his grand, sad finale.
“I just hate it here,” Melvin (Leclair) says early on.
In a clever twist, the somber is made somewhat hilarious by the staging and the performances. A young acoustic guitarist sings through some of the transitions, personifying the ubiquitous PA announcements, while, almost nonsensically, a costumed angel of death stands at the back of the stage for most of the show. (Hey, it is hospice.)
What really makes Melvin Wants to Die
live, though, is the back-and-forth between the titular character and his elderly compatriot Betty (Gloria Sicoli), who wants nothing to do with Melvin or with the care center or its amazing and bawdy nurse. The pair play off of each other hysterically, and they eventually come to find that they share a secret. Melvin, too, has a singular revelation toward the end, one that isn’t as final as he might have hoped. But death is always an uncertainty, right?
Melvin Wants to Die
MR Leclair and Original Cast Players
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: 13 and up