‘Fun Home’ Soared Above Expectations


Photo by Jack McClain

The cast of Fun Home gives recognition for the technical crew during the bows. In this scene, the house is lit up by an ombre of all the colors in the rainbow, highlighting this beautiful story of self discovery and sexuality.

On Friday, April 1, the University of Central Missouri Theatre and Dance debuted their spring musical “Fun Home,” written by Lisa Kron, in the Highlander Theater. The musical told the heartbreaking story of Alison Bechdel, a woman coming to terms with her sexuality as well as her father’s untimely death. The show tackled extremely dark subject matters and addressed them elegantly, but not without shedding light on just how demented the human race can be. 

  An adult Allison Bechdel, played by senior theatre major Alyce Wilson, took the audience on an adventure through her subconscious as she reminisced about her early life and her journey of self-discovery relating to her sexuality. Wilson is no stranger to the stage, and once again she was able to fully command it. With an excellent voice and a wide range of acting, Wilson is a powerhouse.

  The cast of this show was riddled with talent of all ages, ranging from college students to elementary school students. The younger talent was supplemented by students Luca Jaccarino, age 12, playing Christian Bechdel and Penelope Walker, age eight, playing John Bechdel, both of whom were selected to play Alison’s siblings in the early stages of her life. These kids may have been young, but the amount of talent they possessed was remarkable. This can be said for the entire cast, but no more than Alison Bechdel’s youngest phase in life, played by Ailia Ford, age 10.

Hellen Bechdel, the tired and frustrated mother played by Katie Kaminski, finally snaps, screaming into the face of her troubled and unfaithful husband, Bruce Bechdel played by Holden Childress. (Photo by Jack McClain)

  The middle stage of Alison’s life, played by freshman theatre major Emily Turner, details Alison Bechdel’s life throughout college and her realization of her sexuality. Turner portrays this confusion and fear mixed with excitement perfectly as Alison Bechdel realizes what she’s known all along. During this stage of her life, Alison Bechdel is introduced to the confident Joan, played by sophomore Gracie Heath. Heath executed this character beautifully and made for a beautiful representation of the LGBTQ community.

  The remaining family members, Hellen Bechdel, played by Katie Kaminski and Bruce Bechdel, played by Holden Childress, make for a truly tragic couple dynamic on stage. One, trying her best to save a failing marriage, while the other occupies his free time with the company of other men, some even underaged. All of these mysterious men were expertly depicted by sophomore Riley Given. The character of Bruce Bechdel is one to chill a person to their core and Childress is able to encapsulate this predatory attitude perfectly, flipping from charismatic middle aged man to the absolute scum of the Earth at the drop of a hat.

    With jarring sound effects and pleasant music accompanying each scene, there wasn’t a moment the audience wasn’t immersed. The lighting also added its own unique touches and added to the emotional impact of each scene. When Allison Bechdel finally discovered herself, the stage became illuminated in all the colors of the rainbow, an ombre of dark crimson, fading throughout until it met a soothing purple. “Fun Home” was a masterpiece with a story many people can relate to, and it needed to be told.