An Improvised Funeral Comes to Brighton Church

Posted on 16/04/19 by St Mary's Church

An Improvised Funeral
May 25th, 8-9pm, St. Mary’s Church, Kemptown, BN2 1PR

Fresh from a sold out show at Leicester Cathedral for the Leicester Comedy Festival we bring ‘An Improvised Funeral’ to the Brighton Fringe. A site specific improvised comedy show based around the life, death and funeral of a person created based entirely on audience suggestions, all with the aim of making people think and talk more about death whilst having a laugh!

Imagine organising a funeral where everything has been booked, the flowers, the food, the priest, but nobody is sure who is in the coffin… so you have to just make it all up. From improvised poetry readings, to hymns, eulogies and stories from their life all completely made up. That is the essence of the show. Taking audience suggestions for the name of the deceased, their occupation and an object they are buried with we present their life story. Complete with flowers, urn, and our very own coffin (made by an eccentric joiner who made one for us, one for a goth as a coffee table, and a third that went to a rally car driver to mount on his car!).

I came up with the show idea whilst attending the funeral of my great aunt and my own grandmother. I found it interesting to recognise the same hesitance to sit on the front row at the funeral as with a comedy night, nobody wants to be the focus of attention or in the spotlight. It’s also amazing how much tension around death makes people quite giggly, from stifled laughter when somebody almost trips over or imagining all the things that could go wrong. It just seemed like funerals and death were a subject that we all take far too seriously, and there is joy to be found in peoples lives. Having to improvise the funeral and make someone up also takes the edge off as well, it’s hard to be offended when our dead person isn’t real! Death and dying are things we don’t often talk about, one of the greatest taboos, and as such a really great thing for comedy to bring from the dark places of our mind to the forefront to shine a light and to have a good old laugh at our fears.

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