Asheville Local Debuts Show at NC Stage Company

Murphy Funkhouser

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville resident Murphy Funkhouser shows off the junk in her trunk(s) in the autobiographical one-woman show Crazy Bag as part of North Carolina Stage Company‘s 2009-2010 Catalyst Series running August 6 – 15, 2009, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm. Tickets are $12 for Thursdays, $15 for Fridays and Saturdays.

The show was born when single-mom Funkhouser, “who knew a little something about (the show’s theme) baggage and needed to do some unpacking”, lived in Colorado. In its premiere at the 2007 Colorado Theatre Festival, Crazy Bag won Best Director (Denver Post Ovation winner Christopher Willard), and All State Actress (Denver Post Ovation nominee Funkhouser) honors. From there, Crazy Bag went on to play full houses in Breckenridge, Aspen, Denver, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City and was accepted into the 2008 San Francisco Fringe Festival.

Last summer the show was listed as one the Denver Post’s 10 Shows to See.

Reviewed as “heart-wrenching” and “hilarious”, the show was well received by critics and audiences alike. Says Funkhouser, “Everyone has some kind of baggage-something they are carrying through life.”

Now all “grown-up” (with a career and a daughter in kindergarten), Funkhouser was once a rebellious minister’s daughter who dropped out of Bible College, went wild, lived in her car and called 6 cities home in 10 years (this persona is represented in the show by a life-size cardboard cut-out in fishnets referred to as “The Heathen”). Funkhouser wakes one morning to find the baggage of her life has spilled out and she must sort and unpack to determine how to help her daughter avoid making the same mistakes.

Funkhouser – happy she can now laugh about her past-is also a stand-up comedian who makes healthy use of humor while unloading her burdens. The show is a fast-paced revelation of a remarkable, frequently outrageous journey from barroom to motherhood, rebellion to redemption.

Murphy Funkhouser “This is a funny show,” she says. “But it also has the capacity to be life changing. The term ‘baggage’ is fraught with negative connotations. I want to reclaim the word. Baggage is the treasure of our travels… our souvenirs.”

Funkhouser used her life savings to produce and tour the show last summer because she believes so strongly in its message. “Claiming your baggage is liberating. I dream of a day people are lugging their baggage out into the yard and dancing in celebration of it. There should be no shame in the life well-traveled.”

Running tech for the show is Asheville resident Marlene Mechanic (a friend from Bible College) who left her job in Seattle last summer to tour with the show.

Funkhouser warns that she will open not only her own “crazy bag” but the audience’s as well. “There is something in this show that touches everyone no matter what road they took.”

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