‘Fun Home’ opens to live audience tomorrow


Maelyn Barber, Staff Writer

The Black Box Theater piano echoes through the room as students eagerly study the script of “Fun Home,” the fall musical. Students laugh together as they make progress on the production of the show.

For the past year, COVID-19 has challenged Tower Theater to produce traditional shows. As school activities are slowly getting back to normal, theater prepares to perform in front of a live audience. 

Last year, during the pandemic, Tower Theater did all-virtual shows of Vaudeville and “War of the Worlds,” and a film production of “Songs for a New World.”

Theater Director Jason Tyler lamented the loss of interaction in the virtual presentations.

“We weren’t able to physically connect at all,” Tyler said. “We couldn’t connect with that audience because everything was through a screen. Even to the audience, that to me was the biggest disadvantage.”

Virtual performances were difficult not only because of the lack of connection between audience members and performers, but also because some audience members who might have otherwise attended shows in person lacked awareness of virtual performances. 

“Last year, a lot of people had a misconception that we didn’t have theater,” Juan Romero, a participant in Tower Theater since freshman year, said. “That is, in fact, not true.”

As COVID guidelines have since changed, the new goal of FCHS Theater is to get back to traditional in-person production, with the first production of the year, “Fun Home,” opening tomorrow night. The show is a tragicomic musical about a young cartoonist named Allison Bechdel and her father attempting to work out their similarities and differences.

Since the start of preparation for the show, there has been some change in production. “Fun Home” was originally supposed to be performed in the Black Box Theater. However, due to COVID protocols requiring the audience to be 25 feet from the performers, the show moved to McNeal Theater.

Modified guidelines, including distancing, will allow performers to take their masks off, Tyler is looking forward to the change.

“Masks take away from us hearing the clarity of their voice and our eyes are expressive but not nearly as much as our mouths, cheeks, noses,” he said. “I miss seeing anger on faces—happiness, sadness—on faces.”

Though the changes have been challenging, cast and crew are excited about performing live, especially performing “Fun Home,” which addresses serious topics such as coming out and suicide.

“Musicals like ‘Fun Home’ bring the conversation to the table in which we are able to be more open about the things that we feel,” Romero said.

Ella Tremblay, the lead role in the production, emphasizes the importance of delivering such topics correctly.

“They’re not just words.” She said,  “So I have had to do a lot of reflecting on what I am really saying because if it’s not portrayed right, then the audience won’t understand.”

Tremblay also expresses the lesson she hopes for the audience to take away from Fun Home. 

She said “Growing up and learning who you are isn’t a process, that’s the same for everyone. So it’ll take time.” Continuing, “If you’re confused about yourself and who you should be or what you should do, you don’t have to know.”

As Tower Theater gets back to in person shows such as, “Fun Home,” productions will not only teach the audience important lessons, but will show the cast and crew the importance of the audience.