We wrote about Neil LaBute’s play “Fat Pig” way back in 2006 (links to a cached version of the post since mopie.com is still intermittently down) so it’s been on the radar for quite some time. But Sheila sent along this article in the Guardian, in response to the new London production of “Fat Pig,” that extends the discussion to the topic of fat women in theater, in general.
Big women on the stage. By and large, they get a bum deal. If an operatic audience can translate a statuesque and well-fed soprano into a consumptive waif with tiny, frozen hands, and go home streaming snot and tears even though Mimi’s build is more matronly than miniature, why should a theatrical audience not be asked to accommodate a curvaceous Cordelia, a jouncing Juliet, a delectably plump Helen of Troy?
It might be impossible to imagine a fat “straight” heroine in a conventional film, in which Knightley-esque proportions are the norm…But on stage I infinitely prefer a big presence and a big body to the kind of antiseptic, neat-calved, pretty-pretty who packs too many vowel sounds into her Shakespeare – “Oh, my Lo-or-ord!”
It’s an interesting perspective, but the author makes a couple of mistakes. Firstly, in invoking Marilyn’s Law (oh god, not the size 16 thing again, please) but more importantly, in implying (well, outright saying) that many if not most if not all conventionally thin, “pretty-pretty” women can’t act.
I would love to see more fat women on stage and screen, even just more normal-sized women would be a great start. But I also don’t think we need to tear down the “pretty-pretty” girls while we do it. It’s not their fault that they have thin bodies, and it shouldn’t negate their acting abilities. It would just be nice to see them joined by an equal number of larger bodies—who can also be “pretty-pretty,” as we all know.
Posted by mo pie