Theater production intertwines life and poetry in Bellerose
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Feb 21, 2017 | 7679 views | 0 0 comments | 448 448 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Starting on Thursday, Feb. 23, a unique community production will take place in Queens.

The show is being called the “Funsical” because of its showcase of the outside-of-the-box performances representing life through poetry and music.

In fact, rather than a show with a direct plot, “Funsical” will show how important of a role poetry plays into everyone’s life, Author and Director Mark Lord said, especially since many people don’t seem to realize it.

From classic nursery rhymes like “Humpty Dumpty” and “I’m a Little Teapot,” to poems about old age, the show chronologically covers nearly every stage in one’s life. The cast ranges from age four to senior citizens.

“In every stage of life, there are a lot of poems that relate to that stage,” Lord said. “And through the poems, the show sets up the story of a person’s life.”

One segment of the show is entitled “Battle of the Sexes,” featuring a few back-and-forth pieces between men and women. Classic poetry, limericks, a tribute to African-American writers and a section on Shakespeare will also be incorporated in the show.

The show has been in the works since late November and it’s clear to see the passion each member has for the production. Throughout their rehearsals last weekend, there was a sense of camaraderie and energy for this community theater production.

Lord, a retired high school English teacher and resident of Forest Hills, wrote and directed the “Funsical.” The initial idea for the show came up about twenty-five years ago

“I used to teach literature and the kids weren’t madly in love with poetry, so I used to think of ways to get them into it,” Lord said. “One year I ended up creating a 45-minute piece and since then I’ve always had the idea to do something like that.”

Seven years ago, Lord did the first full production of the “Funsical” in Long Island. This particular show has been one-third tweaked to better show off the talents of the cast members.

For example, cast member Mary has a meatier, dramatic piece at the end of the show regarding aging.

Her character is an elderly woman in a nursing home and she begins to relive her life through an internal monologue.

“I go through those ideas of feeding and helplessness and I tell the nurse that she doesn’t really see me,” Mary said. “I then go back to the age of ten, then sixteen, then as a bride and a young mother, and it continues as my character ages.”

“This is an ode to recognizing quality of life at every phase,” she added.

In addition to a lively group of actors, including a set of adorable, spunky kids, the stage’s simple props and space allows each scene to transform wonderfully. From a man’s beginning to a baseball game, the use of the venue is absorbed in every aspect. One potential highlight of the show will be a glow-in-the-dark performance.

The cast will also be in-and-out of aisles and there will be a tad bit of audience participation when cast members talk to audience members throughout the show.

“The space is intimate, I wanted it to feel like a poetry cafe kind of thing,” Lord said.

Interspersed between the poems are about a dozen songs, including one original number to start the show. The rest of the songs are all related to poetry, whether they are poems set to music or songs from musical theater.

“We have an intergenerational cast, we have a multicultural cast and I think we really represent the borough,” Lord said. “We exemplify the diversity of the borough.”

“Funsical” will be playing at the Oak Room in St. Gregory the Great Church at 242-20 88 Avenue in Bellerose from Thursday, Feb.23 to Sunday, Feb. 26. The performances on Feb. 23, 24 and 25 are at 8 p.m. while the performance on Feb. 26 will start at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $18; $15 for seniors/students; $7 for kids 12 and under. They may be reserved at sgtgproductions@gmail or by calling 718-989-2451.

(Photos by Francesco Zimbardi)
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