We Are Not Just Our Bodies: Pacific University Theatre Produces Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig
How do societal beauty standards affect our most intimate and vulnerable relationships?
Pacific University Theatre produces this winter Fat Pig by Neil LaBute, which explores the harsh reality of this question.
“I first read it in 2004. At the time, I thought it was so bold, honest, and frankly, heartbreaking. That still holds true today,” Director Debbie Lamedman said. “The piece is challenging because it’s so honest and intimate.”
Fat Pig centers on Tom, a young urban professional, who meets the very intriguing and intelligent (and very plus-sized) Helen in a crowded lunch spot. Once word spreads to Tom’s coworkers and friends, the ridicule rolls in. Soon, Tom must decide if his feelings for Helen can overcome the pressure he feels to date someone his own size.
“The honesty in this play is cruel, but absolutely accurate in today’s society,” Lamedman said. “I want to be sure that all the characters are portrayed as humanly as possible and not reduced to stereotypes.”
Scenic and lighting design by Tal Sanders will help solidify the 2004 setting, while providing a framework in which the world of the play lives.
“This is a play about characters, and my hope is that the scenery supports and focuses us onto their work,” Sanders said.
Costume designer Melissa Heller is also working to set us in the time of the play, while supporting the journey of the characters.
“Many things are so similar, so my challenge is to find some way to make it look older than current fashion,” Heller said.
Fat Pig features an outstanding cast of student actors: Jenna Cady, Larry Jensen, Elliot Lorenc and Pheobe Whittington. The show will have four performances in the Teatro Barbara, Warner Hall, at Pacific University’s Forest Grove Campus, running Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 8-10, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2:00 p.m. A Q&A with the director and cast will take place after the Feb. 8 performance. For tickets and information, please visit tinyurl.com/pacutickets.