Posts Tagged award
It’s remarkably powerful, it’s touching, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it’s intimate, it’s deeply personal and political at the same time. Based on autobiographical graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, the play Fun Home focuses on the theme of sexual identity. Through very powerful and familial context of father-daughter relationship, the musical explores the cost of living in the closet and the possibilities that open up, on coming out. Fun Home has won several awards including Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Obie, Award, and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and has garnered five Tony Awards including “Best Musical”.
While prejudice remains as a dark and ugly presence in the world today, Fun Home helps us see the costs that societies, families and generations bear due to hidden and overt biases. Born in 1930s, a husband and father, Bruce Bechdel (James Lloyd Reynolds) lives a closeted life. A caring husband and father, Bruce hides a big secret that diminishes his accomplishments, at least in his own mind. He channels his frustration into an obsession with cleanliness, obsession with dressing his daughter in girlie attire and looking for secret avenues to fulfill his desire. He has built a beautiful family with his wife, Helen Bechdel (Crissy Guerrero), his sons, Christian (Jack Barrett, Dylan Kento Curtis), John (Billy Hutton, Oliver Copaken Yellin), and his daughter Alison. The play mainly centers on his relationship with his daughter, Alison. Moira Stone (as narrator Alison), Lila Gold (as young Alison), and Erin Kommor (as older Alison) are all super fabulous in their roles and vividly bring out the complex father-daughter dynamics at various stages in the story. When Alison grows up and goes away to college, she meets Joan (Ayelet Firstenberg) and experiences love’s first stirrings. Terrified and excited, Alison tries to quosh the feelings at first and later explores them and comes out as a lesbian.
Special kudos to scenic designer, Andrea Bechert, fabulous stage manager, Randall K. Lum and assistant stage manager, Emily Anderson Wolf for beautiful staging and scenes. Robert Kelley is a brilliant director and in Fun Home, the story of impact of prejudice is brilliantly told.
Somewhere between the father who felt compelled to live a lie his whole life, and a daughter who finds the environment and courage to seek fulfillment on her own terms, lie the simple truths about both the suffering and cost of having to hide who you truly are, and the joy of embracing your whole self. Great kudos to Alison Bechdel for embracing her whole self and finding to courage to share the story. It was Lisa Kron who was an early fan of the story and with Bechdel’s blessing, teamed up with composer Jeanine Tesori and adapted the graphic novel for the stage, as a musical. In blending this beautiful human story told through pictures with stirring lyrics, the trio has carved a straight path to the human heart.
This is a not-to-miss play of this theater season. Tickets are available at www.theatreworks.org .
A Separation and possible divorce of Iranian couple Nader and Simin (married for 14 years) are at the heart of this movie. After months of trying and waiting, they got the visa to leave the country and migrate to the West and Simin wants to leave to give her daughter Termeh, a better future. Nader however, is deeply occupied in carrying for his father who has Alzheimer’s disease and does not want to leave. While this is a central theme around which the movie revolves, there are other dramas on the side that are equally engaging and give a deep insight into the cultural, class, and moral ethos of the Iranian society and yet other poignant situations show how similar human challenges are all over the world. For instance, Razieh a deeply religious woman, retained by Nader to care for his father, calls the religious hotline to ask if it would not be a sin for her to clean Nader’s father who becomes incontinent. On the other hand, the pull and sadness and turmoil that Termeh goes through being caught in the middle of her warring parents is identical to any teenager experiencing very similar feelings, upon encountering similar situation, almost anywhere in the world.
Razieh is pregnant, commutes long distance to take care of Nader’s father, and is soon overwhelmed caring for the old man with Alzheimer’s disease. One day she ties his hand to the bed post and leaves for a visit to her doctor. Nader returns home with his daughter and finds his father lying on the floor unconscious. He is enraged and when Razieh returns, he accuses of her having stolen the money that also finds missing, and refuses to pay her, and asks her to leave. She insists on clearing her name and insists on her payment and Nader shoves her out of the apartment. She falls and then hurries out. Later, she looses her child and there is court drama where Nadar is accused of killing the unborn child and Nader accuses Razieh of neglecting his father and Razieh’s hot headed husband makes threats against Nadar and his family. Upon insistence of his wife, Nader offers to pay blood money and drop the feud, at which point Razieh refuses to take the money saying that just the previous day before Nader shoved her out of the building, his father had wandered off from home and as she went looking for him and as she ran to keep him from being run over by cars, a car had bumped into her. She feared that her miscarriage might be the result of her being hit by the car and if she accepted the money than Almighty’ wrath would fall upon her and her family. This enraged her husband who owes money to creditors and will likely be jailed. Nader and Simin leave them and then go to proceed with their divorce. The movie ends with the judge drawing the separation papers and then asking Termeh to choose the parent she would like to live with.
This was an intense movie with much food for thought. Almost anyone can relate to how much the teenager is torn between her parents. It seems while she might prefer to live with her mother, she feels they would never get together again, unless she continues to live with her father. We can also relate to how Nader is sandwiched between caring for his father and caring for his daughter and taking care of the home, after his wife leaves. Razieh and her husband, on the other hand, are struggling with poverty and perhaps even wrongly accused of theft and of looking to make free money out of their tragedy. I loved the movie. It is beautifully made, avoids exaggerations, and in the end, one feels nothing but compassion for each and every character caught in the middle of life’s many challenges and constraints. The movie won 84th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, becoming the first Iranian film to win the award and received Best Film, Best Actress, and Best Actor award at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival and also won Golden Bear and 69th Golden Globe Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film.