Sept 20 - Oct 5
Warehouse PAC, Cornelius

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer  Center in NYC

by Halley Feiffer

Directed by Marla Brown

Featuring Karina Caporino, Bill Reilly, Joanna Gerdy, & Christine Harrison

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About the Play

A foul-mouthed twenty-something comedian and a middle-aged man are brought together unexpectedly when their cancer-stricken mothers become roommates in the hospital. Together, this unlikely duo must negotiate some of life’s biggest challenges…while making some of the world’s most inappropriate jokes.   *Adult themes and language

Tickets: $20
Students/Seniors: $15
Box Office: 704.619.0429
Fri. 9/20         8:00 pm
Sat. 9/21        8:00 pm
Thurs 9/26    8:00 pm
Fri. 9/27         8:00 pm
Sat. 9/28        8:00 pm
Sun. 9/29       2:00 pm
Thurs 10/3    8:00 pm
Fri. 10/4        8:00 pm
Sat. 10/5       8:00 pm

An Outlandish Zinger opens WPACs 10th Dramatic Season  

                                 --by Connie Fisher, Theatre Reviewer for The Herald Citizen

It’s a shocker to anyone familiar with the intimate, homey environment of the Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius to find a stark, antiseptic, brightly lit two-bed hospital unit with a moribund woman sleeping onstage. A clean linoleum floor extends all the way into the audience seats. Even the kitchen’s sleek façade appears to be part of the set. It seems almost irreverent to utter a word out loud (‘though most arriving patrons vociferously greet one another anyway). 

Then we see WPAC’s artistic director, Marla Brown in hospital scrubs, cautiously wheeling in another inert patient to the empty bed. Carefully, she lifts the body from the chair and lovingly tucks her in. As she rolls the bed partitioning curtains into place and dims the lights, she settles the stage into a clinical mood.  

Startling? Well, hold your horses—I mean, your seats.  As the play opens, a burst of unprintable language begins to flow, unveiling a series of authentic, outrageous tragi-comical scenes from A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Unit of New York City.

The Warehouse PAC’s production of the play is brilliant! The professional details of the show’s director, Marla Brown, are evident in every aspect of the show—from the talented cast to the unbelievable set, the lighting and sound designs, and the technical crew that surrounds the production. Bravo, Ms. Brown! Well done.

A Funny Thing… is not for the fainthearted. Cancer never is. But in her play, Halley Feiffer has written ingenious scenes about the agonizing vigil no one ever wants to face. Irreverent? Many scenes are. Nevertheless, they’re factual. And a hefty dose of outrageous comedy often serves as a healthy tonic and cure. 

Don, a reticent retired New Yorker played by William Reilly is watchful of his dying mother, Geena, in bed #1, speechlessly portrayed by Christine Harrison. 

A somewhat youthful Karla, characterized by Karina Caporino, is vigilant of her mother Marcie, played by Joanna Gerdy, in the other bed. 

Mindlessly, Karla begins to yell a stream of inane profanity over and over again. Don is horrified—after all, their mothers are laying there, dying. He doesn’t grasp her blue humor, nor does he understand the euphemisms of her language. 

And so, the drama unfolds. It turns out that Karla is a wannabe, stand-up comic practicing “bits” she’ll perform and Don is an unhappy wealthy father, unable to cope with his son. As they get to know each other, they fight, conform, discover, enrage, even attempt to excitingly, emotionally care.

Bill Reilly and Karina Caporino are superb in their delivery of a plethora of Don and Karla’s emotions, ranging from crudeness, heartbreak, desire, empathy and rage attempting to handle their uncertainty. Their performances are rich. While Karla complains, “you do not understand my dark sense of humor at all,” Don solicitously utters, “I’m sorry,” ‘though, confused.

Joanna Gerdy is the sleeper. Presumably perishing (and Marcie is—with terminal gynecologic cancer) she’s spiteful enough to awaken once in a while, and interject zingers, sometimes hurtful to Karla, or solicitous of Don. “I can make cancer jokes, because I have cancer,” she proclaims.

They all deliver marvelous portrayals. Even Harrison’s little surprise toward the end. 

“A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of NYC” is one of those treasures the Warehouse executes so well. If you’re an easily offended literal ninny, don’t bother, you might want to walk out. But if you like to dig your teeth into an arousing production of a well-directed, superbly staged provoking performance, you have a winner. Book your seats now. The show continues this week, Thursday through Saturday evenings and on Sunday afternoon and next week, on October 3 – 5. 

What a way to open your season, WPAC!

Warehouse Performing Arts Center

9216-A Westmoreland Road
Cornelius, NC 28031


Box Office & General Info: 704.619.0429