How fun is being a young actor in ‘Fun Home’?
Molly Dauk as young Alison in a scene of Pandora Productions' "Fun Home" with cloud illustrations by Jenrose Fitzgerald. Photo courtesy Jenrose Fitzgerald.
By Angel Cathey
duPont Manual High School, Class of 2022
“Where is your barrette?” It’s a demanding question Alison, the young girl in “Fun Home,” gets from her father.
Alison doesn’t want to wear that barrette and grows up not wanting to wear dresses. Her father owns a family funeral business and wonders what people would say if they see his daughter dressing differently.
Small Alison doesn’t pay that much mind to her sexuality until she gets older. Then, she starts realizing her attraction to women. This isn’t broadcast loud enough for her parents to suspect a difference. However, it’s simple things that speak louder than words.
But small things foreshadow arguments, and, in the end, there is one between her parents.
Throughout this Tony Award-winning musical’s unusual storyline with nonlinear vignettes, there is a young actress who must dig deeper than many would suspect in her role here. She is one of three different Alisons — a small Alison of her childhood telling this story among a college-age Alison and an adult Alison, who attempts to unlock the mysteries surrounding her father’s life. (She also narrates the musical.)
Molly Dauk was one of the two actresses who played the role of young Alison in Pandora Productions’ recent run of “Fun Home”
Molly’s parents helped her prepare. Kelly Dauk, her mother, said she and her husband helped Molly sing and rehearse her lines. Dauk also said the tension “Fun Home” shows between parent and child is often reminiscent of real-life situations.
“I will say, as her Mom, that I drew some occasional parallels between the show and the tense moments we have when I want Molly to dress up and wear a certain outfit, and she prefers a more casual style,” she said.
Dauk also was aware of the musical’s storylines about sexuality, including Alison’s self-awareness and her father’s secrets about his gay identity. So, she had conversations with Molly about what it means to be a lesbian as well as other topics.
“Certainly, we did have a lot of discussions about what a lesbian is and all the different kinds of families that exist — sometimes two moms; sometimes two dads; sometimes a grandma; sometimes a mom and a dad,” Dauk said.
While Molly has gotten this stage experience, she has gained knowledge about different kinds of people and their own struggles. Molly is happy, for the most part, for the opportunities it has given her to sing — during the shows and at the Pandora subscribers’ party.
“I got better!” Molly said. “I love being on stage.”