Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - WHAT'S ON PLANNER -

AN award-win­ning com­edy that takes a po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect look at our ob­ses­sion with ap­pear­ances is the Old Mill The­atre’s first sea­son of 2017.

Writ­ten by Neil LaBute and di­rected by Les Hart, Fat Pig fo­cuses on a good-look­ing young man who be­comes in­volved with a plus-sized li­brar­ian.

When Tom falls in love with He­len, he is ec­static – but is con­flicted when his work col­league is in­sult­ing about the re­la­tion­ship due to He­len’s weight and ap­pear­ance.

The play fol­lows Tom and He­len’s jour­ney through a poignant and eye­open­ing pro­duc­tion that hits on the top­ics of out­side in­flu­ences on de­ci­sion-mak­ing and the hu­man ten­dency to choose beauty over sub­stance.

Win­ning the Outer Crit­ics Cir­cle Award for Out­stand­ing Of­fBroad­way Play, LaBute was in­spired to write Fat Pig af­ter an ex­per­i­ment with di­et­ing – as his weight de­creased so did his fo­cus on writ­ing.

Hart said the play will chal­lenge au­di­ences about some of their prej­u­dices.

“In this case, the fo­cus is on size but it could just as ef­fec­tively tackle sex­u­al­ity, re­li­gion or colour,” he said.

“But it re­ally is about mov­ing past that first im­pres­sion and get­ting to know the in­di­vid­ual. The world could do with less in­tol­er­ance.

“I’m hop­ing this play makes peo­ple as­sess their own think­ing.” In­volved in the­atre since the early 1970s, Hart cut his teeth with the Kwinana The­atre Work­shop aged 12 be­fore mov­ing to New­man and start­ing the New­man Am­a­teur The­atri­cal So­ci­ety in 1983.

He res­ur­rected the Port Hed­land Play­house in 1995 af­ter an­other move and re­turned to Perth two years later, di­rect­ing shows for the Old Mill The­atre and Playlovers.

Fat Pig is the first show Hart has di­rected in a decade, af­ter liv­ing over­seas for the past nine years.

“The first chal­lenge was the cast­ing – how do you re­quest a per­son that is plus-sized and com­fort­able enough with them­selves be re­ferred to by the ti­tle?” he said. “The other is keep­ing the bal­ance so the show doesn’t get too heavy with the au­di­ence feel­ing like they’re be­ing lec­tured. There needs to be the lighter mo­ments.”

Fat Pig is at 8pm on Fe­bru­ary 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24 and 25 with 2pm mati­nees on Fe­bru­ary 12 and 19. Tick­ets are $25, $20 con­ces­sion.

Book on 9367 8719, old­millthe­ au or at http://old­millthe­­ets.

Carter (Steven Houn­some) and He­len (Bri­ana Dunn) in Fat Pig at the Old Mill The­atre.

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