A Little Wide of the Mark

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fatpig.jpgWe wanted to like 12 Miles West’s first fall production, “Fat Pig” by Neil LaBute, more than we did. And we don’t know whether our disappointment stems from the acting, the writing, or perhaps — most intriguingly — a flaw within in ourself.
The action of “Fat Pig” can be described like this. Boy meets girl. Boy gets teased about girl. Boy dumps girl. The girl is fat. The pathos is produced by the fact that while the characters Tom (Marc Donovan) and Helen (Amanda Jornov) are really in love, Tom’s not man enough to show his love out in public.
The problem is that we can see Tom’s discomfort more than we can see why he is in love. Helen’s main personality trait is making brittle self-deprecating jokes about her weight and then — when Tom squirms — saying “just kidding.”
Is that enough basis for a chemistry? Not for us. We suspect that Neil LaBute simply didn’t write enough charm for the character of Helen. But we fear that perhaps we’re as shallow as Tom, or worse, his callous and annoying office-mate Carter (Vincent Sagona). Maybe we don’t detect the chemistry between Tom and Helen because we too are uncomfortable with the idea of a fat girlfriend.

The play is not helped by an amateurish set in which the two main areas of activity, Tom’s office and Helen’s bedroom, are set too wide. And the odd little stickers on a back wall used for projected titles just look babyish. But that’s really not the problem.
Maybe it’s just not all that enjoyable to watch Marc Donovan squirm for an hour and a half straight. (The play is performed without an intermission.) Or maybe the play is working just fine, and we’re doing exactly what LaBute had in mind. We’re squirming right along with the main character.
“Fat Pig” continues on Thursday through Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoons, through October 15. Tickets can be purchased online.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. You know, what is all this mean-spirited stuff toward women lately? I mean, “Fat Pig” and “Ugly Betty”?

  2. I saw it in ny, and the heavy girl had more personality and was funnier than any of the other characters. Her self deprecating humor was charming as well. I do think you are supposed to squirm, and not approve of the main characters choice in the fat girl.

  3. Neil LaBute’s work is supposed to make you squirm. He deals with very uncomfortable subjects. Did you ever see his film, “In the Company of Men?” Very disturbing but like a train wreck at which you that can’t helping looking.
    BTW, I do plan to see this play.

  4. Neil LaBute’s work is supposed to make you squirm. He deals with very uncomfortable subjects. Did you ever see his film, “In the Company of Men?” Very disturbing but like a train wreck at which you can’t helping looking.
    BTW, I do plan to see this play.

  5. Well, Miss Martta, LaBute certainly came a cropper with “The Wicker Man.” It is laughably bad, not the sort of “badness” where you lament the waste of talent or script problems or whatever. It is simply bad even when positing (I assumed for humorous purposes) a hippie feminist commune full of Betty Friedan impersonators at her most unattractive.
    The original “Wicker Man” is bad, I think, but well-intended, and able to give off a chill or two or three (though Britt Ekland and a few others in the cast simply don’t even approach professional acting abilities, and others are too much in on the joke).
    But the new version is enough to suggest LaBute should simply retire. Oddly, none of his works ever reflect the Mormonism to which he converted when he married.

  6. I haven’t seen the “new” “Wicker Man,” Cathar. I hadn’t really planned to do so since I tend to not like remakes and I am not a Nicholas Cage fan. I did think the original had some charm, though. C’mon, you must’ve liked the scenes with Britt Eklund, no?

  7. Miss Martta, the scenes with Britt Ekland were too painful to watch because I kept seeing her there as she doubtless is with every actor and rocker. Right up to Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats. She’s just too bad an actress to act convincingly otherwise.
    The sex with her may indeed be great, I’ll never know, but the allure, to me, is simply non-existent.

  8. I saw the production and it was terrific. Every other critic who saw it found it so.
    You are supposed to feel uncomfortable and nervous and to examine your own feelings about the ideas in front of you.
    Which I believe you did. If you have come up short like Carter or Tom the play has brought you exactly back to full circle although I’m sorry for you.

  9. “uncomfortable with the idea of a fat girlfriend”….please! We’ve all pretty much have had a fat girlfriend since late highschool and on. there are all sorts of levels of fatness. all falling in between really being fat and constantly worried that you are fat and actually being a normal weight yet still think you’re fat. either way (and all those insnne levels you girls have devised in between) we men have beewn dealing with this crap for our whole adult lives. i know a whole lot of guys who would prefer to be with a girl that does not have a skinny or fit body but comes across as SEXY because of her confidence and acceptance of her body…she knows how to flaunt it. skinny girls/ hot girls/ whatever you want to call them…if they don’t have the self confidence to go along with it they really just end up being neurotic pains in the ass (regarding physical / intimate situations).

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