In Fresno State’s brutally excellent production of Neil LaBute’s “Fat Pig,” a good-looking guy drops for an overweight woguy. Then he issues the entirety time what his buddies — and also, by expansion, the remainder of his world — will certainly think. The play is caustic, disturbing and, I suspect, way closer to the fact than the majority of of us would prefer to admit. This production, directed by Brad Myers with an achieved hand also that makes the product feel both ruthless and also meditative, is likewise distinguished by some exceptionally great acting. These students acquire an emotional workout, and so does the audience.
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Pictured above: Jimmy Haynie, Arium Andrews and Anattracted Mickelkid in ‘Fat Pig.’ Photo: Fresno State
The storyline: Tom (played by Jimmy Haynie) meets Helen (Arium Andrews) in a area lunch area. He’s attracted to her liveliness, intellect and wit. Is the attractivity physical as well? We aren’t certain at first, yet as their connection develops, there are indications this might be the genuine thing. Meanwhile, Tom’s co-workers — a jerky Neanderthal type named Carter (Anattracted Mickelson), that ranks women based on excess poundage, and also a former girlfrifinish of Tom’s called Jeannie (Hannah Berry), that still desires to day him — aren’t just surprised by Tom’s newest romantic attraction. They’re appalled.Related story: IN FRESNO STATE’S ‘FAT PIG,’ PLAYWRIGHT NEIL LABUTE WEIGHS IN ON BODY IMAGE
The themes: To me, “Fat Pig” is around weakness, namely Tom’s, in the feeling that all his fretting around Helen’s weight is really sort of absurd. What does it issue what anyone thinks about his girlfriend’s size? There’s a pivotal allude in which Tom, that likes to think of himself as a non-superficial, enlightened person, asks Carter — that has been spewing a stable stream of sexist drivel — what he thinks of Helen. And it’s tbelow that you understand Tom’s true character: not what he states yet how he thinks. Humans are intensely social creatures, and also we put a great deal of stock in social cues from those around us. Tom isn’t strong sufficient to go against the grain, or, at the incredibly least, find some brand-new, kinder-grain friends.
The playwright: This is wbelow things get a tiny sticky for me through this present. Let’s put aside LaBute’s recent experienced woes. (He was abruptly terminated as playwright-in-residence with a influential Off Broadmeans theater company and also had his latest play pulled from the schedule, through many type of observers pegging the worry as sexual harassment). Even then, it feels awkward to listen to the overweight woguy character in this play sheight dialogue composed by a male playwright best well-known for his misogynistic male characters. (LaBute wrote “In the Company type of of Men.”) Andrews’ character shifts course in the final scene of the play in a dramatic (and also, to me, a dignity-sapping) way, and also while you have the right to argue whether the change is realistic or reliable, it’s jarring. It bothered me to have this specific playwideal putting his words in her mouth at that minute.
The takeaway: Like the majority of good creative experiences, tbelow is much to unpack in this fine, vivid production. It isn’t constantly a simple endure to watch. But the directing and acting is superior. “Fat Pig” has intellectual weight, and also that’s an excellent thing.
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‘Fat Pig,’ a Fresno State production, Woods Theatre. Continues via Nov. 9. Tickets are $17 adults, $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military, $10 students.