After smash-hit seasons on Broadway and in London, Sydney Theatre Company is bringing three-time Tony Award winning musical, Fun Home down under, in a soaring brand-new production. Based on Alison Bechdel’s pivotal graphic novel of the same name, Fun Home is a heartfelt story about coming out and coming of age.
Directed by Dean Bryant, Fun Home has laughs, drama and great tunes in spades. As Bryant told Star Observer during rehearsals at Sydney Theatre Company’s home at Walsh Bay, the work is “a memoir of a young woman named Alison,who grew up in a small Pennsylvanian town, her farther is an English teacher as well as the local funeral director.
“When Alison goes away to college at age 18 or 19, she realises she is a lesbian, comes out to her parents to which her mum says she is worried about her path, because her father had affairs with men. Previously she thought her father was a standard heterosexual man… Albeit with a very deep interest in aesthetics, for he had remodelled their Victorian Gothic home as if it was a museum. He seems to have more affection for his house then his children.
“It explores Alison trying to come to terms with her father, his life, his sexuality and the fact that after she came out to her parents, he stepped in front of truck two months later and died.”
The character of Alison is being played by actress Maggie McKenna, whom herself fell in love with the work a number of years ago, as she explains.
“It’s pretty amazing, I saw the show on Broadway in 2016, and it has been one of my favourite shows since. I’m so honoured to be playing the role of Alison. It’s a really wonderful look at a young women’s life, and discovering her sexuality, it’s quite funny and heart-warming all at the same time.”
But more than just a heartfelt story, that a work which is so unashamedly queer should be presented by the likes of Sydney Theatre Company, speaks volumes to the kinds of shifts being seen within the theatre and creative industries. A point to which McKenna adds, “this kind of female queer representation is something that I as a queer woman haven’t seen in any other musicals. This is the kind of story that Australia needs to hear right now.
“I have been working in theatre for 20 years. For STC and MTC- who are co-producing down in Melbourne to give such resourcing to this incredible queer story, with a gay director and a team of queer artists on such a great stage to big audiences, it feels like a seismic shift is happing in the industry and its exciting to be a part of.
“All my life, I have been telling queer stories, but to see them appearing in the mainstream, firstly in television and streaming, but then to also see the stories get more diverse and more intersectional and told to bigger audiences all the time is pretty exciting.”
Fun Home opens in May, for more info or to book tickets, head to STC’s website www.sydneytheatre.com.au