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Fat Pig

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,576 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Cow. Slob. Pig. How many insults can you hear before you have to stand up and defend the woman you love? Tom faces just that question when he falls for Helen, a bright, funny, sexy young woman who happens to be plus sized-and then some. Forced to explain his new relationship to his shallow (although shockingly funny) friends, finally he comes to terms with his own preconce
Paperback, 112 pages
Published November 29th 2004 by Faber & Faber
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Community Reviews

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Neil LaBute's FAT PIG is dedicated to David Mamet. Really dedicated to Mamet. In fact, if a friend told me that Mamet actually wrote the play, I'd believe him/her.

FRIEND: Read this. I think you'll find it. . .
REESE: Of course. Interesting. . .and. . .
FRIEND: Yes, most people do. But you, more than most. . . will appreciate. . .
REESE: A work about. . .
FRIEND: Exactly. Besides, Mamet wrote. . .
REESE: This?
FRIEND: His hand's on every page. You do still enjoy. . .
REESE: Reading Mamet's. . . .

Dave Logghe
I love plays about damaged personalities. I think they give great insight into pieces of ourselves that we struggle with, and its easier to look at them through a microscope focused on another person. The main character of the story isn't really a great person but he's got a believable flaw that inspires self examination, and I think that's a good achievement for any play.
Jan 01, 2010 Ellesse rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ellesse by: Neil Labute- he bought my ticket
Shelves: plays
Saw this originally in London, directed by Neil Labute.
Like all other Labute plays when you see them done- it rips you a new one and like all the other females in the audience I was gripping my seat in horror that this could be the common belief of man. But I am in love with the writing of this play. The wanting to be better, to better oneself and yet choosing against it. Choosing consciously not to progress.

"Every-time you'll wipe your mouth you'll think of me..." -Helen.
At his best, Neil LaBute forces you to examine truths about yourself (and humanity in general) that you might not want to admit. Like many of his plays, Fat Pig is about obsession with physical appearance. Tom, the nice-guy protagonist, is caught between two women: the plus-size Helen and pretty co-worker Jeannie.

Here's the thing: I had a hard time understanding why Tom was falling for Helen. So she has a surprising sense of humor about her obesity. That wouldn't be enough for me, so I guess I a
Average guy dates fat girl. Social commentary follows.

I’ve heard people rave about this play for years. I don't get the hype.

Now, to be fair, I read Fat Pig after binge reading a bunch of plays published in the first half of the twentieth century, and it's not a fair comparison. Fat Pig is flat and amateurish when stacked against some of the giants of the twentieth-century stage. It lectures and postures in place of a story, and while I enjoyed Mr. Bute’s style of vague, scattered conversation,
A good read, this book is. Reminds me to buy more screenplays (2013 goal!) and less contemporary fiction. Somewhere at the very end of the play, you can really feel Helen's heartbreak and Tom's confusion. You know he loves her but at the same time, you know he hates her - and everything she represents when they will finally be together. Just tragic. I should see a real live play of this one in Broadway. *sigh*
Matthew Dunleavy

For the past 4 years Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig (7 short acts, 84 pages) has sat on my bookcase in a total of five apartments/houses/residences. For some reason, or another, I have always glanced over it and never got around to actually picking it up and reading it; that all changed this month.

It is such a shame that I never read this play before! The dialogue is fast paced and witty no matter which characters are conversing. LaBute doesn’t aim to make any major s
When you see 4 characters split evenly along gender lines in a play about adult relationships, can there be any doubt that you're watching a Neil LaBute play? LaBute has a particular subject matter that he prefers above all else, and so long as he continues to do it well, I fail to see any reason for him to move on to something else. The fascinating thing about watching or reading a LaBute play is that I'm never really sure if I consider his characters to seem like real people or if I just think ...more
Rachel Ide
I like this play because of how well it's written and because it discusses current problems we have in our country regarding personal image. People are so ignorant to the fact that people have personalities which should be the only thing to judge by, not people's weight. Being overweight doesn't make people any less of a person who deserves friendship or love. And people can be overweight because of many different reasons, not just because of eating too much or unhealthily, although that may be ...more
No actual completion came about at the end of this play. Helen's character was the only one I had any real feelings for, the other characters were just bratty and caricatures of other stereotypical characters. This is my second time reading him and I feel a little disappointed by this particular play. LaBute often writes on interesting topics, but it seems like his plays end up without having any real type of closure. So much more could've been done in terms of plot and character development, ye ...more
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Jessie Harvey
Last month, my dear cousin starred in this play as Tom. Since I couldn't see the show, I read it. It seems that my cousin was well cast, as Tom was the only potentially likable character. There was goodness in Tom, but sadly he drowned in his insecurities, preventing him from being happy with Helen, for whom the play is named... As Tom states, "All this love inside and it's not nearly enough to get around the shit that people heave at you." This observation and others make the play very true to ...more
Jessica Graham
Come on... Social attitudes and peer pressure issues are covered more intelligently in young adult TV series - written by young adults.
This is not a fun read, even though it is an easy read. Neil LaBute quickly, simply, and beautifully asks his audience to confront their own beliefs about what is really important in love and relationships. The long and short of it is that our protagonist falls in love with a fat woman, but eventually leaves her, despite his love, because he can't bear what his friends and co-workers say about her. About them together. It's unsettling how believable these characters are, and how unhappy the stor ...more
May 08, 2008 Maria rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
One of my audition pieces is from this play and I wanted to re-read it and look for new ideas about the character.

I love the language in this play. It sounds incredibly authentic and modern to me. And I think this play tackles some of the way we perceive people with weight problems that we are uncomfortable discussing. And a lot of this play is uncomfortable to read because it does showcase that side of things. The conversations are definitely theatrical in nature, no one is that blunt in real l
a quick read (seriously, during one commute) that is a simply staged, simply acted play (just a series of dialogues between a young attractive man, his two shallow co-workers and his fat girlfriend. the play asks all of the right questions and tackles the issues of vanity, worrying what others think of you, and self-esteem. no easy answers in this one. i saw it performed but was distracted by certain things in the production - reading it on paper was an enjoyable re-imagining and made the dialog ...more
I've seen LaBute, but never read him, so I'd forgotten what I was getting myself into. The play is an EXTREMELY quick read, and explores the inner conflict of the protagonist quite well, but oh, I was so looking forward to a happy ending, and that certainly wasn't it. It's likely a good show to watch (I can see actors translating those emotions very well), but the language was so very simple as to be boring. Glad I read it, but not sure I'll return to LaBute unless something is recommended by a ...more
At first I thought this would be very similar to that movie "Shallow Al." There are certainly a lot of similarities but this play has far more depth to it. Labute did an excellent job of portraying the topic in a way that makes the reader question what he/she would do in such a situation. In that sense, the complexity of the subject is really brought to the surface. Also, I think it had more of an impact on me because I had just seen the topic of fatness covered on NatGeo's "Taboo."
I think "Your Friends and Neighbors" is a great play and "The Shape of Things" for all its aspirations is a simple exercise in bitterness and misogyny. LaBute's ambitions are more modest here, and his misanthropy is not so insistent. Unhappy ending aside, its sort of simple and sweet.
What makes LaBute's characters human is what makes them unlikeable. The central romantic pairing of the play is driven in part by the same shared spinelessness that dooms it.
Liz Bernardo
Not my favorite LaBute play, but I love the deep questions he raises about the value we place on physical appearance. The universal truths explored are amazing, and I love the fact that it doesn't end how you'd expect. It's great, and I'm definitely thinking about a lot of things more than I did before, especially with how we treat those marginalized by society for their looks. And this is coming from a former fat kid of 200 lbs.
A play about truth, life, and love. It's how we see ourselves, each other and ourselves through the eyes of others. LaBute's words are extreme, no doubt but also thought provoking.
The thing about Neil LaBute is that I almost feel guilty for enjoying (right word here?) his work. I appreciate his brutal honesty and recognize the importance of his candor, as uncomfortable as it makes me feel. Given the subject matter of Fat Pig, which explores body image and shallow perceptions of attractiveness, I was uneasy from the start; the title alone slapped me right in the face!
Was not impressed at the beginning, just because it seemed like i was reading the two male characters from 'reasons to be pretty' in a different scene, but the play quickly gathered a different speed and path. the last scene might be one of the most uncomfortable things i've ever read. i can't imagine how much more uncomfortable it would be to watch.
An amazing play, beautiful and tender story about people, lovers, who get caught in a middle of social expectations. This play speaks in volumes and what's best, does so through likeable and relatable characters. One of the very best plays I've read, this is how the theatre should talk, this the voice. To show in what kind of a society we live in.
Goge (BARRONS) le Moning Maniac,
This play gets a 3.78 for making me depressed!! There's so much to talk about concerning this book but I've no time. Later will. But OHMYGOD how I hated some pples..... hmmmm>( But then again this is life. Reality. Fuck Reality! Anyways, I really enjoyed(?) hated(?) I did not regret reading this.
This is a great Labute play. Funn and Tragic with characters that are based in reality and talk like it. The ending is great and I'm sad I didn't get to do the show with The Weekend Theater this spring, I was really looking forward to it. Read it and go see it if you can.
One of LaBute's subtler plays with greater character development and plot lines. He seems to show some empathy for the two main characters and the dialog is more narrative than usual. This is a nice alternative to the other LaBute works, which I also enjoy.
Looking back on this play, I realize how great the end of this play is. LaBute is very good at ending his plays. Likeable characters, and a thoughtful look into a topic that is not often tackled, make up for it's slight repetitiveness within itself.
Lauren Stone
as a play its kind of brilliant, it's meaty and disjointed and wierd, but i love that and no one writes for girls who eat, and its a story that goes from exciting and hopeful to absolutely devastating in one scene... if played right.
So this is actually about a guy who is trying to come to grips with the fact that he is dating a fat girl. If you can get past the absurdity of the premise, it raises some interesting points about insecurity.
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Neil LaBute is an American film director, screenwriter and playwright.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, LaBute was raised in Spokane, Washington. He studied theater at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At BYU he also met actor Aaron Eckhart, who would later play leading roles in several of his films. He produced a number of plays that pushed
More about Neil LaBute...
The Shape of Things Reasons to Be Pretty Bash Some Girl(s) The Mercy Seat: A Play

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