Most every scene in Edward Thomas-Herrera's astonishing one-man show, first performed at the 2004 Fillet of Solo Festival, is "unsettling, repulsive, improper, surreal, grotesque, tender, and hilarious all at once." Those are his words for his experience in a Texas funeral home when, choking back sobs, he tried to pretend his dead mother's makeup wasn't horrendous. Lurid red lipstick "seems to have been applied with a trowel," and ocher skin suggests her embalmer was "running short on shades of Latino, so he decided to go for light-skinned mulatto instead." His aunt, choking back bigger sobs, presses a tissue to her tongue, leans into the coffin, and begins dabbing off her dead sister's lipstick. In florid prose full of hyperbolic images that meld the ludicrous and the heartbreaking, Fun While It Lasted follows the sissified, agnostic, Anglofied Thomas-Herrera through the psychological minefield of a traditional Latin Catholic funeral. Opens Sat 3/25, 8:30 PM, then runs 3/31-4/8, see chicagoreader.com for complete schedule. Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, 773-871-1212, $12 or $20 for this show and Golden Corral (see separate listing).
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Suzanne Plunkett.