Comedy closes college’s theater season

A woman suffering from amnesia takes audience members on a unforgettable journey inside her forgetful mind in the dark comedy, “Fuddy Meers.”

The performance, which is the finale of Hastings College Theatre Arts Department’s 2013-2014 season, is at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Scott Studio Theatre, 806 N. Turner Ave.

Written by David Lindsey-Abaire, the off-beat play follows the life of Claire (portrayed by Grace Rempp of Hastings) as she takes the audience on a kaleidoscopic ride through life as seen through her eyes. The adventure includes a kidnapping, revelations and a salty-talking puppet (played by John Johnson of Grand Island), who lends charm and humor to the unusual tale.

“She’s kind of an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in sort of a bizarre, inappropriate Wonderland,” Rempp said. “The show covers one day of her life and kind of goes through the adventures she has to go through that say. She kind of wakes up as a child and grows up through the day as she discovers new things.”

For Rempp, a 2013 Hastings High graduate, the play represents her first lead role at the college. Though there are numerous lines to remember, she feels ready to bring her first lead character to life.

“It’s been awesome to play,” she said of her role. “Claire is really fun. She’s fresh and exciting and it’s been a very fun experience. I’m really glad I get to do it.”

Emily Funkey, 22, of Hastings portrays Gertie, Claire’s stroke-stricken mother. The senior has portrayed about a dozen lead characters during her time at the college.

“The play is very over the top,” said Emily Funkey, who portrays Gertie, Claire’s mother. “It’s lively and colorful and the characters are really crazy. There’s a lot to experience.

“The main character wakes up every morning and has no idea who or where she is, so it’s kind of her remembering her life throughout the day through all of these absolutely crazy events that are taking place. It’s very funny, but there are also touching moments.”

Because her character has experienced a stroke, Funkey must get across her message on-stage using largely gibberish that is difficult to understand. While the actual script contains non-words, Funkey uncovered the actual messages being conveyed in the play index. And from that, she’ll look to make her character understood as best she can.

“She spends the entire play talking nonsense and gibberish,” she said. “But after reading through all those lines back there I can still hear the meanings in the lines.

“So then I just went into my script and wrote key words above it and memorized it as though it was saying something real so I could still convey a meaning. Even if people can’t understand necessarily what I’m saying, they’ll still get the point of what I mean.”

Annette Vargas, HC assistant professor of theatre, makes her directing debut in what she describes as a light-hearted glimpse into mental illness that is both tasteful and eye-opening.

“It’s fun, relatable, but still has a serious message of the seriousness of mental illness,” Vargas said. “The audience can expect to see a lot of crazy animated characters and a lot of humor.”

Cast members include Rempp and Emily Funkey, both of Hastings, Aaron Pierce of Cozad, Patrick White of Omaha, John Johnson and Becca Holloway, Grand Island, and James Bachman of Thornton, Colorado.

Others from the area participating behind the scenes include sound crew head Andy Jones of Bladen and crew member Michael Sadd of Hastings. Set design is by Hastings College Theatre chair Jim Fritzler.

Because of its mature language and themes, the production is best suited for older teens and adults.

Tickets are available at the theatre box office from noon to 5 p.m. through Friday and at the door. Discount tickets are available for seniors and non-HC students.

To reserve tickets, call 402-461-7380 or by e-mail at

To read more, see Wednesday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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