Chrissy Metz is moving from TV screens to the stage — and her new play is sure to have everyone talking.
Deadline reported Wednesday that Metz will star in a revival of Neil LaBute's 2004 Off-Broadway play "Fat Pig." The show will debut in spring 2018 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Full disclosure: I haven't seen the original play — but based on the summary, and the reviews of its first iteration, it sounds questionable. Apparently, a man faces backlash from his friends for dating a plus-size woman. Still, the new version might not be as fat-shaming as it sounds: Deadline adds that there will be a new script and a new ending for the play.
In 2004, a different actor also made his stage debut in "Fat Pig." Jeremy Piven starred in the off-Broadway play as Tom, the man who falls in love with Helen, who is plus-size. During that iteration, Keri Russell also played Jeannie, Tom's ex.
In a 2004 article for The New York Times, Emily Eakin wrote that LaBute was "famous for male characters so rage-filled and callow that critics have accused him of misogyny." She contrasted "Fat Pig" with another play at the time, Eve Ensler's "The Good Body," in which Ensler examined her own relationship with her weight. Eakin wrote that in LaBute's original play, "fat is more than just a running gag," even though Tom and Helen's relationship doesn't work out. She also writes that LaBute lost a significant amount of weight, before gaining most of it back — and he told the Times he was okay with that, because he was writing more when he wasn't focusing on his appearance.
"Fat Pig" was far from the first time plus-size women have been scrutinized in entertainment, and it certainly won't be the last. The description of the play calls to mind movies like Shallow Hal and other works where a woman's personality and accomplishments fall second to her appearance. Hopefully, "Fat Pig" will be less shallow — Helen's character sounds like a pretty badass woman.
Still, it's hard to imagine how a play called "Fat Pig" will play out in today's day and age — people will no doubt have opinions about it before even knowing what it's about. As a fan of Metz, I'm keeping an open mind; hopefully the 2018 version of the play will be a body-positive experience.
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