by Halley Feiffer
2 October – 27 October 2018
“I can make cancer jokes. Because I have cancer”
The European premiere
A European premiere from acclaimed American playwright Halley Feiffer, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City.
Karla, a foul-mouthed twenty-something comedian, and Don, a middle-aged man embroiled in a nasty divorce, 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.
Can these two very lost people learn to laugh through their pain and lean on each other, when all they really want to do is run away?
Playwright Halley Feiffer returns to the Finborough Theatre following last year’s sell-out production of her Outer Critics’ Circle Award nominated I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit… received its critically acclaimed world premiere Off-Broadway in 2016 at the MCC Theater at Lucille Lortel Theatre before its West Coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse.
About the Playwright Halley Feiffer
Playwright Halley Feiffer is a New York-based writer and actress. Her full-length plays include I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard (Atlantic Theater Company, directed by Trip Cullman), which was nominated for the John Gassner Playwriting Award at the 2014-2015 Outer Critics Circle Awards, and received a sell-out production at the Finborough Theatre in 2017; and How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, directed by Kip Fagan). Her plays have been developed by Second Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, the O’Neill and elsewhere; and are published by Dramatists Play Service and Overlook Press. Her work has been commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theater Festival and three times by Manhattan Theater Club. She teaches Playwriting at New York University. She has written for the Starz series The One Percent (co-created by Alejandro Iñárritu), the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, the Showtime series Purity (based on the novel by Jonathan Franzen) and original pilots for FX and TNT. She is currently a producer on the upcoming Showtime series Kidding, starring Jim Carrey, and directed by Michel Gondry. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University. She is a former Playwright in Residence at Stella Adler Studio, and a winner of the Young Playwrights Competition and the Lotos Foundation Prize.
About the Director Bethany Pitts
Director Bethany Pitts is an award winning theatre director. Theatre includes Fuck You Pay Me (VAULT and Assembly Festival - VAULT People's Choice Award), Brutal Cessation (Theatre 503 and Underbelly), Spine (Soho Theatre, Underbelly and National Tour – winner of Fringe First, Herald Angel and Stage Award), Tether (Underbelly), Much Further Out Than You Thought (Underbelly and National Tour – IdeasTap and Underbelly Award Winner), FreeFall (Pleasance Islington – nominated for OffWestEnd Best Director) and Desert (National Tour and Latitude Festival). Assistant and Associate Directing includes Frogman (Shoreditch Town Hall, Norwich Playhouse and UK Tour), The Here and This and Now (Southwark Playhouse and Theatre Royal Plymouth), Dark Vanilla Jungle by Philip Ridley (Soho Theatre and Pleasance Theatre - Fringe First Winner 2013) and Theatre Uncut (Traverse Theatre, Eidnburgh, and The Young Vic - Fringe First Winner 2012). She was Assistant Director at Theatre Royal Plymouth from 2012–2013, working under Artistic Director Simon Stokes, and also a former Resident Assistant Director at Theatre 503.
The Press on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit...
★★★★ 'Spiky... Gallows humour rules' Evening Standard
★★★★ 'Very funny and very adult... Fast and crisp direction... roller coaster of a ride' British Theatre
★★★★ 'Charming, funny and thoughtful play' Everything Theatre
★★★★ 'Excellent, funny, poignant piece' Theatre Box
★★★★ 'Moving, wince-inducing and really funny... not to be missed' Spy in the Stalls
★★★★ 'Extremely good' Londonist
★★★★ 'A fantastic show. Definitely ope to catch’ Pocket Size Theatre
★★★★★ 'Brutally honest and devastatingly funny' London-Olios
★★★★ 'Ecstatically indelicate humour’ London Student
★★★★ 'Thoroughly enjoyable' London Pub Theatre
★★★★ 'Totally enthrals... contemporary drama at it's most inventive' LondonTheatre1
★★★★ 'A super production, skilfully directed’ Closeup Culture
★★★★ 'Hilarious and heartbreaking... passionate performances’ Frost Magazine
'Completely absorbing...don't miss it’' Fringe Review
'Exciting and unexpected, very funny’ The Prickle
'Unfettered by restraint’ Breaking the Fourth Wall
'A dedicated cast' A Younger Theatre
The Press on Halley Feiffer's I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard At the Finborough Theatre
“It is that rare and thrilling thing – a work with the unmistakeable voice of a real writer.” Gerald Berkowitz, TheatreGuideLondon
★★★★★ “Remarkable, witty, heartbreaking, significant theatre.” Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming
★★★★★ “Insightful, sometimes uncomfortably relatable theatre.” Cindy Marcolina, Broadway World
★★★★★ “Emotionally stunning… powerful… compelling… great writing” Everything Theatre
★★★★★ “Thought-provoking drama at it best and highly recommended.” Act Drop
★★★★ “An extraordinary play which is funny, gritty, and self-aware.” London Pub Theatres
★★★★ “Interesting, funny, extremely unnerving” Reviewsgate
★★★★ “A blazingly impressive piece of writing, immaculately staged and acted to the hilt.” WhatsOnStage
★★★★ “Hits home with a sense of primal instinct.” Tom Birchenough, The Arts Desk
The Press on Playwright Halley Feiffer
"Feiffer is building a reputation for fearlessness, and it’s on full display here.” The New York Times.
“Thank God for the warped creative mind of playwright/actress Halley Feiffer… an uproarious and deeply unsettling…dark comedy.” TheaterMania on How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them
“Viciously funny… Brutally effective.”Time Out New York on I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard
“One of the best plays I’ve seen this season… Provocative, sensitive, shocking… The writing is polished and probing… A tense thriller that left me shaking” New York Observer on I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard
“Spectacular tension and real danger” Entertainment Weekly on I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard
Theatre includes Rope (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch), A Murder is Announced (King’s Theatre, Edinburgh), Animals and Life's Word (Theatre503), In Memory of Edgar Lutzen (Old Red Lion Theatre), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe), Goodbye Love (Southwark Playhouse), Henry V (Rose Theatre, Bankside), A Life of the Mind (BAC), Random Acts of Malice and Tube (Union Theatre) and Mountain Language (Royal Court Theatre).
Film includes Gareth Jones, Subject and Stargirl.
Television includes Agatha Christie - A Life in Pictures, Island at War, Welcoming Arms, April Rhapsody and Sex, Guy and Videotapes.
Radio includes First World Problems, Ingrid and Listen with Murtha. Commercials include Terry's Chocolate Orange - Bang Bang, Lloyd Pharmacy, Nationwide Current Account, Wales Tourist Board - Big Country Commercial and Millennium Dome.
Theatre includes King Kong (Vault Festival), Trumpets and Raspberries (Chickenshed Theatre), Oliver Reed: Wild Thing (St. James Theatre, Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, and National Tour), Fear and Loathing in Las Vagas (Vault Festival and Pleasance Edinburgh), The Circus (Assembly Festival, Edinburgh), Around the World in 80 Days (National Tour), Hi Ho (Gilt and Grime), Moll Flanders (Perth Festival and Tour), A Fan's Club (New Wimbledon Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), Accidental Death of an Anarchist (National Tour), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Open Air Theatre, Sheffield), Apple Pie (Tricycle Theatre), Arsenic and Old Lace (Strand Theatre), Bouncers (Mainbrace), Burke and Hare (Brockley Jack Studio Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), Frankenstein (New Wimbledon Studio Theatre), Homeland (Theatre503), Rhinoceros (National Tour), Stone and Ashes (White Bear Theatre), Table Manner (National Tour), The Country Wife (Courtyard Theatre), The Flood (Southwark Playhouse), The Happiness Compartment (NXT Theatre), The Man Who Went to Buy a Book (Cockpit Theatre), The Sea and the Mirror (Edinburgh Festival) and Three Short Blasts (Arcola Theatre).
Film includes Purge of Kingdoms, My Best Friend’s Wedding, England, My England and Her Story.
Television includes Lovesick, The Rack Pack, Wasted, Gallivant and Lead Balloon.
Comedy includes The Retreat, Blowhole and Clarkson and Crouch.
Theatre includes Austentatious (Savoy Theatre, Piccadilly Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre, Underbelly, Edinburgh, and National Tour), Cariad and Paul: A Two Player Adventure (Soho Theatre and Pleasance Edinburgh), Lady Cariad’s Characters which was nominated for the Comedy Awards Best Newcomer 2011 (Soho Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), Cariad and Louise’s Character Hour (Soho Theatre), Daniel Rigby: Berk in Progress and Comedy Store Players (Comedy Store), Danny’s Deal (The Old Vic), Studio 50: The London Improvathon, We Are Amused, Pack up Your Troubles: 50 Hour Improv, MSC Cruises and Save the Car! (The Sticking Place) and The Bristol Jam 30 Hour Improvathon (Bristol Old Vic). Cariad has also performed at Upright Citizens Brigade, New York and Los Angeles, and The Pit, New York.
Film includes 0507 which she also wrote and which was nominated for BIFAS – Best Short Film, Hallo Panda, Mister Biscuits, The 1STand Kitty, Kitty Romford.
Television includes This Time With Alan Partridge, Hospital, Murder in Successville, Walliams and Friend, The Catchment, The Agency, Drunk Histories, Joseph Morpurgo’s Christmas, That’s So Last Century, I Want My Wife Back, Peep Show, Virtually Famous, Marley’s Ghosts, Ruby Robinson, Inside No.9, The Delivery Man, Toast of London, Crackanory, Crims, Vodka Diaries, Siblings, Gameface, The Cariad Show, Give Out Girls, Badults, Fit, Dawson Bros. Present Funtime, Cardinal Burns, Would I Lie To You, The Last Leg Correspondents, Josh, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Have I Got News For You and QI.
Radio includes Comedy of the Week, Austentatious, The Comedy Club, Museum of Curiosity, Newsjack, A Good Read, The World of Simon Rich, Spotlight Tonight, The News Quiz, Small Scenes, With Great Pleasure, Sisters, Here Be Dragons, Poetry Puh-lease, Victoria Van Helsing and the Curse of Crossmyloof, Small Scenes, The Cariad (Radio) Show, The Guns of Adam Riches, The Horse Section, Chatshow Roulette, Legend of the Holyrood Vampires, Little Monster, The Guessing Game, The Nowshow, Newsjack and My First Planet.
Podcast and online includes Griefcast as creator and host, which won Best Podcast 2018, Best Entertainment and Best Interview, Learn with Andrew, Dirty Dancing, Jacque Le Cock, The Proposal, Lamb and Macaroni, The Vows, The Freudian Complex and Roisin Conaty Blap.
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Love Child, Natural Inclinations, The Early Hours of A Reviled Man, Portraits and Child of the Forest.
Theatre includes The Massacre at Paris (Rose Theatre, Bankside), Huis Clos (King's Head Theatre), The Illustrious Corps (Soho Theatre), Woman of Troy (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), The Snow Palace (Tricycle Theatre and Sphinx Theatre Company), Wounds to the Face and Uncle Vanya (The Wrestling School), The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (Latchmere Theatre), La Chunga (Old Red Lion Theatre), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Royal Shakespeare Company), Berleigh Grimes (Bridewell Theatre), The Chance (Belfast Festival), The Merchant of Venice (Phoenix Theatre, Leicester), A View From a Bridge (Library Theatre, Manchester), When We Dead Awaken and Nijinsky (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), The Triumph of Death (Birmingham Rep), Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet (Contract Theatre), Devour the Snow (Bush Theatre) and Plunder (National Theatre).
Film includes Freestyle, A Little Chaos, Poppyland, City of the Dead and The Fool.
Television includes Arabs in London, New Tricks, To the Lighthouse and EastEnders.
2 October – 27 October 2018
Tickets and Times
Approximately 80 minutes with no interval.