Lake Worth Playhouse Delivers Powerful Moments in ‘Fun Home’

“Fun Home” at the Lake Worth Playhouse, directed by Sabrina Lynn Gore and exhibited on Oct. 9 , passed the Bechdel test. The Bechdel test, created by Alison Bechdel, MacArthur “genius” grant winning cartoonist, states that a work of fiction must have two women who talk to each other about something besides a man.

The play features Alison Bechdel, a lesbian who is the daughter of a closeted English teacher and funeral director and her mother who stays with him. She talks to her college girlfriend Joan about her struggles with coming out. She also talks to her mother about her mother’s life in Germany. 

The play is based on Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic”. The play captured the spirit of the book, with the songs infusing it with life. The set design portrayed the “Fun Home”, the childhood nickname Alison and her two brothers Christian and John gave the funeral home in which they lived. The lighting allowed each scene to transition seamlessly between each other like a river. 

The actors are from left – Jamie Mattocks, Eden Gross, JB Bellinato

Some of my favorite songs from “Fun Home” include “Changing My Major”, “Ring of Keys” and “Telephone Wire”. “Changing My Major” is about the joy Alison Bechdel, played by JB Bellinato, feels after sleeping with Joan, played by Caroline Dopson, which causes her to “change her major” and “write a thesis” on Joan. “Ring of Keys” is about how a young Alison Bechdel, played by Eden Gross,  is excited when she sees a butch lesbian delivery woman at a diner with a ring of keys on her belt.

A ring of keys was a symbol to lesbians that the wearer was a lesbian because back when lesbians were more butch, they were not allowed to take more “womanly” jobs and had to take the “manlier” jobs so the key ring was a fashion statement connected to the look of blue-collar workers. “Telephone Wire” is about how once Alison Bechdel realizes her father is gay, and after she has come out to him, she wants to tell him that she knows he is gay too and connect to him over this shared fact. He quasi-comes out, by longingly reminiscing about a college encounter.

The actors are from left – Jamie Mattocks, Eden Gross

“For them it was a game they outgrew, but I always knew,” sings Bruce Bechdel, played by Michael Coppola. 

“Dad, me too! Since, like, five, I guess, I preferred to wear boys’ shirts and pants. I felt absurd in a dress. I really tried to deny my feelings for girls, but I was like you, dad, me too,” sings Alison Bechdel, played by JB Bellinato.

But then Bruce goes back to reminiscing, leaving the rest unsaid between them.

The actors are – Kaia Davis, Michael Coppola

I can relate to this experience of leaving things unsaid between someone close to me. The meaning of the show touches on love, loss and acceptance. The moment of Alison waiting for her father and mother to react to her coming out, and her mother having a negative reaction was a powerful moment in the show. With this play showing only two days before National Coming Out Day, the relevancy was immediate to the audience. 

I recommend catching “Fun Home” at the Lake Worth Playhouse this weekend Oct. 14-16.

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