The rain blew in tonight. Plan A had been a run in Central Park after work this evening. I ended up working about an hour later than planned and it was drizzling when I left the office.
Plan B should have been running on the treadmill in the hotel gym. But when I walked off the elevator instead of turning left towards Radio City Music Hall, I turned right towards Times Square. The discount Tkts booth was only a block and a half away. Seems I was going with the other Plan B, doing something I rarely do on my business trips. I was going to be a tourist.
The other Plan B was a Broadway show. I've heard such great things about Fun Home and although I knew it would involve, you know, emotions, I bought a single ticket for tonight's performance. This is 2016, not the '90s. I can't put this on an expense account. Even at a 40% discount it was more than I usually spend on entertainment in three months, to say nothing of one night.
Worth every cent and then some. Best decision I've made in a long while.
I was already a fan of Bechdel. When I was first coming out, a friend - a really cool dyke - gave me a copy of a Dykes to Watch Out For book. I was skeptical. I was never a lesbian, had never really taken to comic strips or graphic novels. Didn't much seem like something I'd enjoy.
J told me to consider it part of my queer coming out education. She was firm. I was expected to read the book.
Finished it in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. I identified with it as someone who was a kid growing up middle class in the '70s, someone who was growing up as a girl but who was drawn to all things male and masculine. It was funny and poignant and captured all that frustration and confusion and humor and childhood fears and childhood wisdom.
I expected all that from Fun Home and it delivered. There is so much that is immediately relatable as we in the audience bear witness to small Alison's life in rural Pennsylvania in the '70s. My family's secrets were different than hers and not as dark. But I can relate to looking back on my childhood with adult eyes and adult knowledge and understanding more of what was going on around me. You see that the secrets were right in front of you, but you still, as an adult, can't fully confirm or understand if your new, adult suspicions are true.
In my personal experience, it was learning as an adult that my father had affairs. Looking back, I can see or suspect when he was cheating and figure out when my mother learned that this had happened. Again. The tears, the stony silences between them that were seen and not understood. The story in Fun House is different but as I say, it was very relatable.
And middle Alison, in college. Early 80s? I was a few years later than that. Confused about my gender and trying to figure myself out, I went to the women's clubs on campus and found that I was put off by how liberally political the women were and the expectation that I'd be fully socially conscious, become a vegetarian or something. There was something oddly validating about that whole section of Fun Home.
The humor in Fun Home was just right. Innocent or ironic, it never was at anyone's expense and never went of the obvious punch line, the easy joke.
It's a very honest story, one that's not easily or fully tidied up at the end. It's life and we're all getting through it, imperfectly.
Go see this when it comes to a stage near you.