WESTON, Vt. – The Weston Playhouse never fails to impress, bringing an incredible rendition of the 2015 Tony-Award winning musical, “Fun Home,” to their Second Stage at Walker Farm. The acclaimed Weston founding director, Malcolm Ewen, an incredible cast and production crew take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster and journey of self-discovery, based on a true story.
The matinee performance July 7 saw a full house in the state-of-the art and brand new Walker Farm Theatre, an innovative and intimate space, where the audience surrounds the stage on three sides, the live band plays from the back, and the flexible and minimalistic set design provided an immersive experience for all.
The lights rise on Alison Bechdel, a 43-year old lesbian cartoonist looking back on her life to find answers. Her memories take the audience through three stages of her life, from when she was young and wanted to play airplane with her dad, when she created a commercial for the Bechdel Funeral Home with her brothers, which they affectionately referred to as the “Fun Home,” and it highlights Alison’s unwillingness to be just like all the other girls.
This early stage of Alison’s life also highlights the tension in her family, a neurotic father with secrets and a temper, a patient mother who’s trying to do what’s best for her children and keep the family together, and other supporting characters who bring the story to life.
Alison’s time in college is a unique experience marking her growth and exploration into a new aspect of her identity. When she finds out her father’s secret, it is devastating. Shortly thereafter, her life changes forever.
The play closes with Alison reuniting with her past and her memories, and putting a closing touch on an emotionally tumultuous journey for the characters and the audience, many of whom were dabbing their eyes and cheeks at the climax of the performance.
Andrea Prestinario, the actress portraying adult Alison, indicates that she had seen “Fun Home” on Broadway three years ago and while the general plot spoke to her as a queer woman, she was ill-prepared for the transcendent experience for her personally. She was excited to take on the role and bring this story to the Weston theater for more to enjoy its message. It offers an immersive experience and communicates the universal importance of family, honesty, love, and empathy.
The play also stars Caitlin Kinnunen as college-aged Alison, Ava Vercellone as young Alison, David Bonanno as Bruce Bechdel, and Susan Heafner as Helen Bechdel. The cast is rounded out with Holly Rose Gould, Adam Shonkwiler, Emmett Smyth, and Ryder Scott. Set designer Howard C. Jones, lighting designer Stuart Duke, Mara Blumenfeld, and many others made this production not only possible but a huge success.
The show will continue to be on stage until July 28 at Walker Farm, 705 Main Street in Weston, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets can be purchased from the box office 802-824-5288 or at www.westonplayhouse.org.