Thursday, March 9, 2017

Directorial Musings....Fun Home

"And yet...."
Two words that say there is something else. Something unsaid. Something unknown. I marvel at the power of a well conceived lyric.
In listening to the musical  FUN HOME I am even more impressed with the writing and the score by Lisa Kron and Jeanine TesoriFragments of memory are effectively woven and expressed through a musical motif that evokes yearning and remembering. Phrasing, unfinished sentences, thoughts only partially spoken out loud. A void, a space, a pause, an emptiness as deep as a cavern.  But we know what is unsayable and we wait and watch until the characters can finally say it.
This show continues to resonate with me. In listening to it I hear a stress, a tension, a self-consciousness that is palpable in the character of Bruce. He sounds like someone always on the brink of exploding. It is wrenching. This is material that the author Alison Bechdel knows so well. That may seem obvious, but plenty of families choose to pretend, ignore, and deny. It takes guts to look at the truth of one's family and Bechdel does it with honesty and humor.
Each character in FUN HOME is well developed and achingly restrained. A perfect blend of book, score, direction and writing.  I haven't been this captivated by a musical since I saw NEXT TO NORMAL. I am drawn to complex texts with layers of subtext and characters with complicated relationships. Denial, secrecy, choice, discovery, and revelation are powerful storylines. The skill with which the creators of FUN HOME tell the story is truly admirable. The narrative structure is clever without being contrived.  Clearly, this is a musical that will stand the test of time.  It instantly imprinted on my psyche the way Sondheim's INTO THE WOODS did.  Audience members will focus on different aspects of the storyline and be moved by each in their own way based on their own context.   There is plenty to mine in this story. The fact that I'm still thinking about it days after seeing it and am analyzing its structure, relationships, and characters, I know it has made a significant impact on me. For that, I am grateful and inspired.

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