Regan Adair and Christina Vela at Dallas Theater Center
THEATER REVIEW: FAT PIG
Tom, a successful, in-shape professional, falls into a romantic relationship with Helen, a plus size librarian.

Theater Review:  Fat Pig

Performed by Dallas Theater Center

in the Wyly Studio Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center

© The Flash List | March 22, 2010

Photos by Brandon Thibodeaux  

 

“I’m pretty OK with myself now; the trick is getting other people to be.”  - Helen in Fat Pig

 

In Fat Pig, Tom (Regan Adair), is a successful, in-shape professional, who falls into a romantic relationship with Helen (Christina Vela), a plus size librarian.  And while Helen is completely content with her body, Tom’s colleagues are not. 

 

Through uncomfortable interactions between characters and gut-wrenchingly honest discussions, Tom finds himself in an intense emotional struggle as he tries to integrate his personal interest in Helen with his desire to retain the respect of his friends.

 

Steven Walters’ portrayal of Tom’s insensitive friend Carter was remarkable; and while we considered Carter an obnoxious jerk who hurled one raw insult after another about Helen’s appearance; Walter’s delivered an almost tender glimpse of Carter’s background, and we began to understand his wish to protect his friend from what he considered to be an unseemly union. 

 

Like The Shape of Things, Fat Pig is a hard-hitting and insightful look at the perception of beauty in society.  It’s accurate, and fair as well, examining one side of an issue and then whipping around to explore the other.  We enjoyed the intensity of the play; and felt not only entertained, but also invested in each character - elated at their moral triumphs, humored by their irreverent or socially clumsy remarks, and disappointed by their personal weaknesses.

 

The Beauty Plays are running in repertory (rotation) in the Wyly’s 6th floor studio black box theatre (an intimate space with minimal props).  The clean stage setup highlights the four characters and offers no elaborate visual effects to distract you from pondering questions about love, friendships, fear, prejudice, weight, appearance, and loyalty to oneself and to one another.

 

Be aware that the dialogue in this production is quite frank and at times explicit with mature themes and sexual situations.  But the language is authentic, and in many ways even necessary.

 

If you feel inclined, we recommend sticking around after the show for the Dallas Theater Center’s thought-provoking post-show discussion.  People seem to have extremely strong views and perceptions of the material which can be the catalyst for lively conversation which we found to be quite entertaining itself.

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