Tonight I went to see, for the second time, the Mitch & Murray Equity Co-op Production of Neil Labute’s play “Fat Pig”. I rarely go to see a production more than once so this should tell you something about the quality of the production; however this is about so much more than just a great production.
I believe this is also they type of theatre Vancouver needs to be doing more of. And, there must be a lot of people out there who agree with me because not only was the show completely sold-out but they oversold tickets and had to bring in more chairs to seat people. AND, the majority of the audience was under the age of 45. I’m guessing probably about 85%. That is freakin’ amazing! Just seeing this makes me want to run around yelling in victory and I’m in no way involved with this production; but, I do believe we are all in this together. Together we are building a new industry and hopefully making it cool again. And, this production is cool.
Two words: clean & crisp. Every detail of the design of the production was consistent. The set (designed, along with the costumes, by Naomi Sider) was clean & white. Every prop was anonymous from the white of the “picture” of Helen to the white-out of the screen on the white mac-book computer. The costumes were crisp, all of them wearing black with bright, vibrant colours of a specific palette of blues, greens, pinks and purples. The lighting (designed by Itai Erdal) and sound (designed by Corinne Kessel) were funky and disco-like making the transition between scenes seamless with actors changing on stage. Smooth, slick and seamless: three more words I would use to describe this production.
Then there is the acting. Great all around but Lawerence Haegert really stuck out. His portrayal of Tom is spot on. He is neither a poor cliché nor a hero. He is an everyday guy with flaws included. Does this make him likable? Not necessarily. But it sure does make him real. And Jennifer Mawhinney is pitch-perfect as the highly-strung ex-girlfriend/co-worker. In some of her scenes I was laughing out loud for an extended period of time (sorry to the people seated around me).
Huge kudos to the director, Michael Scholar Jr, for a putting together such a unified and well-acted production. In December of this past year, I was in New York, where I had the chance to see “Speed-the-Plow” on Broadway (before Jeremy Piven decided he had “mercury poisoning”) and I can quite honestly say that besides the fact they obviously had a much bigger budget to do fancy things on stage (like have walls move) the quality of this Vancouver production of “Fat Pig” was equal to what I saw on Broadway.
To be able to say this about our city makes me very proud indeed.