There seems to be one almost universal truth regarding families: When a family gathers together, Murphy's law kicks in full swing, and whatever can go wrong, does go wrong. Something about being packed tightly together at birthdays, Christmases, or funerals seems to be a catalyst for endless bickering, name calling, and the like. Yet another thing holds true: Beneath all the trivial squabbling lies a bond stronger than any other in the universe. FringeNext's We Put The Fun In Funeral explores both of these ideas–the portrait of a typical, dysfunctional family that seems to get lost in arguments and quarreling when occasions bring them together, yet found when they remember the love that ties them together.
Audiences are greeted by Trey, (Norb Wessels) a young man who is joined by his wacky and dysfunctional family, each member more quirky than the next. Grandma can't remember who anyone is, including herself. Bart can't see anyone, except for his own vain self. Aunt Kathy seems to have left all of her tact at the door. Mix together all of these volatile personalities and BOOM. An explosion, as Trey puts it.
The story overall gained its strength from the wit in its script, an excellent showcase of just how talented these emerging artists are. Yet, because the story relied mostly on stereotypical personalities (the dumb blonde, the pot head, etc.) it sometimes lost a little steam. Yet numerous jokes and punch lines gave this script all the power it needed to deliver an incredibly successful run. Considering all the elements that had to come together in order for this (and any) show to work, it was a brilliant showcase of the potential of high school students.
There was absolutely no similarities between each actor, every family member had his or own very unique habits and quirks that made this family unforgettable. Particularly notable Megan Turner as Aunt Kathy. Her earsplitting voice and nosy attitude was hilarious. Also especially memorable was Katie Maurer as Grandma, whose absent minded forgetfulness sometimes led to very sticky situations.
We Put The Fun In Funeral is part of the FringeNext series of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Every FringeNext performance was produced entirely by high school students, in a effort to give high school artists a share in the ever growing limelight of the Cincinnati theatre community.
By: Matt Ruehlman