My Funeral: the dry run puts the fun in funeral

Both touching and hilarious, Jane Kansas’ My Funeral gets this important event out of the way while everyone’s still living

You've got three more chances to see Jane Kansas' Fringe play My Funeral: the dry run, with shows tonight, Friday, and Saturday at Gottingen Street's (((Parentheses Gallery))). 

"I've been thinking about my funeral for many years," says Kansas, "and then in February my sister dropped dead. In March, I was talking about my funeral to two friends and one of them said, 'You should just do it now.' I went home excited and had the name and general gist of it that night."

The end result was My Funeral: the dry run, a monologue concerning life, death, food and Kansas herself, playing a character that's "pretty much me, the ambivert version. I can be funny and outgoing, but that's always followed by me asking myself why I can't just shut the eff up." 

Asking that same question are a number of mourners played by notable Haligonians, whose post-mortem speeches about Kansas are delivered via video. 

"The mourners are all great and they all wrote their own lines. Tara Thorne and Jackie Torrens are both playing very funny characters. Jane Wright and Lis van Berkel are speaking honestly." The latter's piece "really hits home. It's very honest and she pulls no punches." 

Hugo Dann, also appearing in this year's Fringe production of Whale Riding Weather, playing a minister and was the first person Kansas approached when casting the show. "He's a really good actor and I wanted an excuse to spend more time with him." 

Kansas hoped to balance out the gravity of the subject matter with a considerable amount of levity.

"I knew from the start that some of it would be funny," she says. "I also knew that much of my thinking about death and dying and my own experience with life has always been melancholy and I really wanted to write about that also. So what I was aiming for was a two-fold experience for the audience: a good laugh followed by some revelation about what it means to be human and frail. And then another good laugh." 

Concurrent with the run of My Funeral, the (((Parentheses Gallery))) is featuring Kansas: Fifty-Year Retrospective, showcasing Kansas' art from various decades of her life, which has her feeling reflective. "In June I turned 60," Kansas says, "which as far as I'm concerned is the end of the Western world as we know it."

September 4-7, 8pm
(((Parentheses Gallery)))

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