Caitlin Howard / Administrative Executive Editor

Keene State Theater and Dance (TAD) showcased the family-oriented musical “Fun Home” March 1 to 4 in the Redfern Arts Center Wright Theater.

“Fun Home” is a musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” focused on Bechdel’s exploration of her sexuality, in addition to her complicated relationship with her father and the parallels between their lives. Additionally, Bechdel was in pursuit of uncovering pieces of her late father’s life while they both tried to balance their family dynamic.

Bechdel was portrayed during three stages of her life by junior Gray Hardaker, firstyear Amanda Sennett and visiting actress from MoCo Arts Nissa Messar. Her father, Bruce Bechdel, was portrayed by junior Tyler Nash. The rest of the cast consisted of junior Hannah Showalter, senior Erika Walker, senior Patrick Eckland, first-years Amanda Sennett and Kei Eaccarino and senior Allison Newey.

Prior to the show’s official opening on March 1, they held a dress rehearsal on Feb. 28 for those who weren’t able to get tickets after the show sold out.

“Honestly, tech went really well and we got through three tech days and so we kind of teched through a third of the show each time,” said director Kirstin O’Brien. “I fel[t] a lot more, I don’t wanna say relaxed, but I think last night [final dress rehearsal] was kind of like we opened last night… I will say we all came together and everyone [was] working their butts off.”

Stage Manager Jayson Cassetta described the intricacies that went on behind the scenes of the performances and the responsibilities he held.

“I have to be organized or else the show literally collapses on itself… I have my blocking scripts so I keep track of every single blocking note we get through rehearsals,” Cassetta said. “We have lighting levels and we just make sure where every queue is gonna be called, I write it all down in my blocking script.”

Cassetta said he had to overcome a lot of obstacles as stage manager to make sure theshows ran properly, including honing in on his communication skills to ensure seamless messaging between himself, the cast and crew.

Cassetta said that the most rewarding part of stage managing for “Fun Home” was calling the show.

“To me, it is such a cool experience to literally be controlling and seeing all the different elements come together and being the one that gets to feel the glue for all this, for the whole project,” Cassetta said. “Getting to look down and see the work that we’ve all been putting in, being able to be a part of that process, to me is such a rewarding feeling.”

O’Brien said she was proud of all the hardwork and dedication that the cast and crew put towards “Fun Home.”

“I don’t think I’ve been literally as proud or excited or as connected to a piece of theater ever… the overall experience of seeing everyone involved and knowing that they are a massive part of something so important and beautiful, and that’s what makes it worth it,” O’Brien said.

She added, “This group of actors, I get emotional talking about it, they’re just the most special humans at this point that I have had the honor of directing… the most rewarding part is working with these humans and seeing them dissect the show, grow with the show, and have conversations with me, trust in me, I trust them; It was just so collaborative.”

Nicole Dumont can be contacted at

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