Play on body shaming, bullying comes to city

Multi-award winning play ‘Fat Pig’ is a reflection of what happens in each one of our lives, says director

Puneet Gupta

Here’s a play that subtly tackles issues of body shaming, bullying and prejudices with great aplomb. The play is relevant in today’s times because people’s lives are ruled by what transpires on social media. Theatre lovers will get to see how these issues unfold in Neil LaBute’s multi-award winning comedy ‘Fat Pig’. The play is being staged by Mad Hats Theatre on May 4 and 5 at Alliance Francaise. In an interview with Metrolife, director Puneet Gupta talks about the making of the play and why it is a reflection of what happens in society. 

What is the play about?

The play tells the story of a young advertiser who runs into a vibrant librarian at a cafe. She is really funny and lively, and they instantly connect. This chance encounter leads to dates, and more dates and they soon fall for each other. Head-over-heels! The only problem is that she is plus sized -- fat. Very fat in fact! And for reasons he is not fully sure about, he tries to keep this affair a secret.

Until the truth spills out and the narrative of their love story becomes very messy. As this love story progresses, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud one moment, and feel a bit guilty for laughing the very next. 

A scene from ‘Fat Pig’, that will be staged on May 4 and 5 at Alliance Francaise.
A scene from ‘Fat Pig’, that will be staged
on May 4 and 5 at Alliance Francaise.

What do you mean when you say that the play challenges stereotypes that?

Stereotypes of beauty often come with being slim, tall and fair. Fat, short or dark-complexioned people are therefore looked down upon. Anyone who deviates from the ‘acceptable norms’ is bullied, taunted and made to feel inadequate. Homosexuals, transgenders, physically/mentally challenged people - there are many people who experience prejudices from those who conform to conservative stereotypes. This play looks at the deep-seated biases of society at large and how it affects others.

How is it relevant to today’s times?

How you look, how you appear to others - this is the core of today’s narcissistic social fabric. Social media - Facebook, Instagram, etc.- have all created a culture of presenting the ‘perfect’ side of you. Getting ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ by others has become an insatiable need for youngsters, even middle-aged people. And therefore appearances have started mattering a lot more than the truth behind it. Slim fast diets, cosmetic surgeries and fancy exercise regimes - all these are taking over.

Instead of spending time on nurturing the soul, people are busy portraying how others want to see them. This play asks these questions in a comic and witty manner, but makes the audience think about their choices.

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