Samantha Eyler

Samantha Eyler (Alison) has a BA in Musical Theatre from Marywood University. Fun Home is her premiere show in the Greenville area but she has performed in and costumed numerous shows across several states. Notable past roles include Mae (Reefer Madness, Imagine Productions), Magenta (Rocky Horror Show, Cyclodrama), Dina (Schoolhouse Rock Live, Shadowbox Live), and Diana (Chorus Line, 24/7 Mainstage). She would like to thank her amazing husband for his support.

What attracted you to this role? To this musical?
I love musicals with substance. I think the lighthearted, just-for-fun musicals have their place but I think what makes musical theatre special is the ability of music to transcend the words and portray emotion and storytelling on another level. So, I am always drawn to musicals that utilize that technique and tell an engaging, moving, and emotional story.
What was your familiarity with FUN HOME?
My mother bought me Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel as a gift knowing only that it had something to do with some musical. I had heard of the musical but hadn’t really gotten into yet when I first read the memoir. I was so moved by the way she used the graphic novel genre to tell a completely different type of story. 
Have you read the memoir was based on?
Reading the memoir was my first introduction to the show and I reread it when I was cast.
What can you tell us about your character?
Of the three iterations of Alison, she is the most at peace with who she is. She has grown into herself and she has already made a career as a “lesbian cartoonist.” However, she still hasn’t properly mourned the loss of her father. She starts the show very cavalier about her painful memories but as the story unfolds she rediscovers herself and comes to terms with everything she knows about her father.
What are some of the more interesting things you have discovered or done in the rehearsal process?
We got to do a really exciting workshop with an intimacy coordinator. I am not involved in the scene of the show where the techniques were used but it was really interesting to learn the techniques that she uses to choreograph intimate moments in shows.
What is the most challenging part about your role or songs?
This role has been significantly more challenging than I expected. I felt like I had a solid understanding of the character and she show prior to rehearsals. Because I am onstage observing all of the other moments of the show, I have spent a lot more time delving into my emotional and character arc and it has been wonderful but definitely a challenge and certainly time-consuming. 
What have you learned about yourself from playing this role?
Alison talks candidly in the memoir and in interviews about how she didn’t know how to properly process her emotions for much of her life, especially following her father’s death. I identify with that so much. I have found this to be a very cathartic experience and, though I have a very different story and family life, I have learned a lot about myself and the way I handle emotional experiences whilst wading through Alison’s journey. 
What do you hope patrons will take away from their Fun Home experience?
I hope they enjoy the show but I also hope that they take away something deep and meaningful from this story. I think there are elements that everyone can connect with and I hope they are able to journey with us and walk away knowing themselves better. Three of you play the same character Alison Bechdel at 3 different ages. What has been your strategy amongst the three of you to assimilate this person? Any physical traits or gestures, you all have assumed?
We did a rehearsal where we all tried to see what gestures we were each using and tried to assimilate them across the three of us and get some physical consistency to Alison. As I am in the position of observing most scenes, I am in a good position to try to mimic and mirror the other two without seeming forced. I think we have discovered the character of Alison separately and when we came together we have worked to fill in the gaps to create a smooth transition from one Alison to the next and I’m excited about the growth we portray through her life. 

What attracted you to this role? To this musical?
I love musicals with substance. I think the lighthearted, just-for-fun musicals have their place but I think what makes musical theatre special is the ability of music to transcend the words and portray emotion and storytelling on another level. So, I am always drawn to musicals that utilize that technique and tell an engaging, moving, and emotional story.
What was your familiarity with FUN HOME?
My mother bought me Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel as a gift knowing only that it had something to do with some musical. I had heard of the musical but hadn’t really gotten into yet when I first read the memoir. I was so moved by the way she used the graphic novel genre to tell a completely different type of story. 

What can you tell us about your character?
Of the three iterations of Alison, she is the most at peace with who she is. She has grown into herself and she has already made a career as a “lesbian cartoonist.” However, she still hasn’t properly mourned the loss of her father. She starts the show very cavalier about her painful memories but as the story unfolds she rediscovers herself and comes to terms with everything she knows about her father.
What are some of the more interesting things you have discovered or done in the rehearsal process?
We got to do a really exciting workshop with an intimacy coordinator. I am not involved in the scene of the show where the techniques were used but it was really interesting to learn the techniques that she uses to choreograph intimate moments in shows.
What is the most challenging part about your role or songs?
This role has been significantly more challenging than I expected. I felt like I had a solid understanding of the character and she show prior to rehearsals. Because I am onstage observing all of the other moments of the show, I have spent a lot more time delving into my emotional and character arc and it has been wonderful but definitely a challenge and certainly time-consuming. 
What have you learned about yourself from playing this role?
Alison talks candidly in the memoir and in interviews about how she didn’t know how to properly process her emotions for much of her life, especially following her father’s death. I identify with that so much. I have found this to be a very cathartic experience and, though I have a very different story and family life, I have learned a lot about myself and the way I handle emotional experiences whilst wading through Alison’s journey. 
What do you hope patrons will take away from their Fun Home experience?
I hope they enjoy the show but I also hope that they take away something deep and meaningful from this story. I think there are elements that everyone can connect with and I hope they are able to journey with us and walk away knowing themselves better. 

Three of you play the same character Alison Bechdel at 3 different ages. What has been your strategy amongst the three of you to assimilate this person? Any physical traits or gestures, you all have assumed?
We did a rehearsal where we all tried to see what gestures we were each using and tried to assimilate them across the three of us and get some physical consistency to Alison. As I am in the position of observing most scenes, I am in a good position to try to mimic and mirror the other two without seeming forced. I think we have discovered the character of Alison separately and when we came together we have worked to fill in the gaps to create a smooth transition from one Alison to the next and I’m excited about the growth we portray through her life. 

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