Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig is a four person play that looks at the way people perceive themselves physically within today’s society. Central to the story is Helen, an overweight woman who can’t believe she has attracted the attention of Tom. While enjoying his relationship with Helen, Tom has to deal with a co-worker, Jeannie, whom he used to date and who is having issues with her self-image. Also involved in this situation is Tom’s friend Carter, the office joker, whose brand of humour doesn’t really help anyone.
While I can see that this play is technically very sound from a structural point of view I didn’t really enjoy it that much. It is difficult to form a true understanding of the characters as they are often weak or flawed. Just when you think you may have figured out who to root for they change their behaviour or do something that doesn’t quite sit right. While I guess this is reflective of reality, on stage I don’t believe characters should alienate their audiences. This play drags its viewers through an emotional wringer that makes the short (and interval free) running time seem to go on forever. The ending also leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
The actors do a great job of bringing their characters to life, and as soon as you get past the accents (not sure what the deal is there) there is some excellent work here. The direction from Peter Evans is also solid and the very simple set works.
This isn’t going to be for everyone but I do commend the STC for presenting something that isn’t what we expected and isn’t safe. That’s what theatre is all about.