Cow. Slob. Pig. How many insults can you tolerate before taking a stand to defend the woman you love? Neil LaBute’s provocative comedy, Fat Pig opens April 26 at the Hudson Mainstage in Hollywood. The revival, directed by Alexis Jacknow, features new material not seen before in L.A.
LaBute’s award-winning, stingingly witty romance about love in the modern age of body image and peer pressure tells the story of Tom (Jonathan Bray), a young career guy who hits it off with Helen (Deidra Edwards), a bright, sexy woman who happens to be plus-sized. As he reluctantly finds himself falling in love, Tom's colleagues (Kirsten Kollender and Nick Stabile) are brutal in their assessment of his new mate. LaBute probes our carb-counting, extreme makeover nation by asking tough questions. How much has our relentless pursuit of beauty turned us into an uglier species?
“People might look at the title and think it's going to be about one thing, but it turns out – in the end – to ultimately be about something quite different,” explains LaBute. “It’s a study in weakness — particularly the weakness of this man who falls in love with someone, and then doesn't have the backbone, the spine to live up to those convictions.”
“Despite the title of the play, it’s Tom’s story,” asserts Jacknow, who recently worked as LaBute’s associate director on L.A. Theatre Works’ production of Reasons to be Happy. “It’s about being able to claim your own happiness in the face of societal pressure. It speaks to everyone.”
Fat Pig premiered in 2004 at the MCC Theater in New York City, winning the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play, and was seen in Los Angeles at the Geffen Playhouse in 2007.
“I am thrilled to be able to collaborate with Neil again on Fat Pig,” Jacknow adds. “He has been so lovely about answering my questions and giving me permission to use certain parts of the new text at my discretion.”
Alexis Jacknow is a Los Angeles-based theater director whose other recent projects include The Diary of Anne Frank at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and Sarah Ruhl’s In The Next Room or the vibrator play at the Lounge.
Jonathan Bray performed on Broadway in the Roundabout's production of The Father with Frank Langella. L.A audiences will remember him as Jack in the world premiere of Sideways the Play at the Ruskin.
Deidra Edwards starred in the award winning indie feature Disfigured, for which she received an award specifically created for her performance by the Women Film Critics Circle “to recognize Deidra Edwards for redefining conventional standards of female physical beauty and pride on screen, and promoting positive images of big bodied women.”
Kirsten Kollender’s credits include Lost Girls (Rogue Machine); Rx and The Grand Irrationality (Lost Studio); Mauritius (Pasadena Playhouse); Dolly West’s Kitchen and The Merchant of Venice (Theatre Banshee), The Accomplices (Fountain Theatre) and Doubt (Santa Barbara Theatre).
Nick Stabile just completed a run starring as NASCAR racer Bobby Horvath in a revival of John Bishop’s 1977 Broadway hit, The Trip Back Down. Other theater credits: Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, Charles Fuller’s A Soldiers Play and Slow Dance in Midtown by Elizabeth Sarnoff.
Set design for Fat Pig is by Hazel Kuang; lighting design is by Donny Jackson; sound design is by Chris Rummel; costume design is by Michael Mullen; production stage manager is Penelope Lowder; casting is by Michael Donovan; and Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners produces.
Fat Pig opens on April 26 and continues on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m through June 1. There will be two preview performances, on Thursday, April 24 and Friday, April 25, both at 8 p.m. General admission is $30 except previews which are $15. The Hudson Mainstage is located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038. For information and to purchase tickets, call (323) 960-7788 or go to www.plays411.com/fatpig.