January 14th, 2016


In which Seanan sees FUN HOME.

Some of you may remember that I went to New York for, essentially, the month of November. This is not an unheard-of occurrence, me going out of town for an entire month: when it works out, logistically, it's easier on me to go, stay, get everything I need to done, and then come home to sleep for a few weeks. I recognize that this is a privileged way of doing things, predicated on my a) having a job I can do from anywhere, b) being able to actually do that job while traveling, and c) having someone to feed the cats while I'm away.

Some of you may also remember that I adore musical theater. It's customary for me to try to catch a show with my editor from DAW while I'm in town; for this trip, I had selected Fun Home. Fun Home is based on the memoir of the same name, written by Alison Bechdel, chronicling both her relationship with her father and the process of her own coming out. I had read the book once, years ago; I knew the author mostly from her work on Dykes to Watch Out For; and I had seen one of the musical numbers, "Ring of Keys," performed at the Tonys. That alone had been enough to make me want to see the show.

Originally, it was going to be me, Sheila (my editor), and Betsy (also from DAW). Sadly, Betsy couldn't join us, for personal reasons. Thankfully, Josh (also also from DAW) was able to take her place, so her ticket wasn't going wanting (not that we would ever have a problem finding someone to come with us to a good show). We met up at the office and proceeded from there to Sushi Zen, aka, "the place we seem to keep winding up before we go to a show." I had the sashimi boat. I always have the sashimi boat. If you ever have the chance, have the sashimi boat.

I also had the edamame and the steamed mushrooms. Both were excellent, although not as good as the sashimi boat. Mmmm, sashimi boat.


We decided to skip dessert and head straight for the theater, which turned out to be a good thing, as the show started in twenty minutes and was performed without an intermission. I am so grateful to be walking better. I was able to bolt for the bathroom, pee, and meet up with Sheila and Josh with five minutes to spare (no small trick in a theater with only one girls' bathroom).

Fun Home is performed in a theater in the round. Our seats were front row, right on the "stage," so that the actors would be passing only inches away at certain points. It was amazing. Like, genuinely amazing. We got settled. I started reading my Playbill, and squealed when I realized that Bruce Bechdel, the male lead, was played by Michael Cerveris, aka, "September from Fringe." Sometimes I am twelve.

All I really knew about the show as a show was the song "Ring of Keys." Even after seeing it live, I feel like all I really know is "Ring of Keys," because that's where I started sobbing and didn't stop.

Alison (there are three Alisons in the show, portraying the author in various stages of her life: small, medium, and large) and her father are at the diner, having breakfast. A woman walks in. And Alison, small, tomboy, brilliantly rebellious Alison, looks at her, and sees her, and knows her. Knows her for being the same as she is; knows her for being alike. There's this feeling of glorious recognition in the song, of "if you are, then I can be too, and if I am, then we are, and neither of us is alone," that I recognize from my own clumsy, confused process of coming out.

The whole show is glorious. It's confusing and confounding and brilliantly staged, and I hope it goes on tour so I can take my sisters. But that moment, that song...

I would take the whole show for just that song.