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Fat Pig

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  2,076 Ratings  ·  78 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 Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Oct 06, 2010 Reese rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
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. . . .

Jul 23, 2012 Lauren rated it it was ok
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,
Jan 01, 2010 Ellesse rated it it was amazing
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.
Dave Logghe
Mar 01, 2014 Dave Logghe rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 22, 2008 Rebecca rated it liked it
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
Mar 30, 2009 Rakisha rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Derek Dewitt
Jun 15, 2017 Derek Dewitt rated it it was amazing
I loved it. Great, natural, realistic dialogue. A hard look at some real truths in modern Western society. And yeah, the ending is a bummer, but it's what gives the play the punch it needs to make a lasting impression. The two main takeaways fro me are what others have written here - the fact that it is a conscious choice to change or not change, to allow what other people think and say to affect what you do, or not; and the old truth that we hate in others what we hate in ourselves, or in what ...more
Maya Vanderpool
Mar 16, 2017 Maya Vanderpool rated it liked it
Tom is a douche canoe that can go do something very unlikely with himself. Jeannie and Carter can go die in a ditch. Helen needs to find herself a man that will treat her better.
Anna W.
Jan 26, 2016 Anna W. rated it liked it
LaBute’s “Fat Pig” is a scathing look at how individuals are all truly terrified by those who embody what they could one day become. Carter, the smart-mouthed, asinine friend of our main character Tom surmises: “The thing [fat people] represent that’s so scary is what we could be, how vulnerable we all are. I mean, any of us […] We’re all just one step away from being what frightens us. What we despise. So… we despise it when we see it in anybody else” (71-72). Multiple characters in the play c ...more
Matthew Dunleavy
Jun 23, 2011 Matthew Dunleavy rated it really liked it

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
Jun 07, 2013 Adrian rated it really liked it
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
Mar 19, 2012 Rachel Ide rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
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
Jessie Harvey
May 19, 2008 Jessie Harvey rated it really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2012 Sam rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 11, 2016 Rohani rated it really liked it
The title "Fat Pig" appealed to me and when I found out that it was the same playwright who wrote "The Shape of Things", I knew I had to read it. I knew that this play was going to be uncomfortable. Although there were some sweet moments, there were a lot of cringey ones too, and it felt as if I was eavesdropping someone else's personal thoughts. It felt unwelcoming and intrusive. But true to LaBute's word, this play really is about human weakness, and it's almost embarrassing to read about how ...more
May 03, 2008 Maria rated it really liked it
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
Sep 29, 2011 Jenna rated it liked it
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
David Jay
Sep 30, 2016 David Jay rated it liked it
Interesting idea, smart dialogue, thought provoking. Tom, a young and good looking man, (played Off Broadway by Jeremy Piven) begins dating an obese woman. Complications ensue.

The major problem I had with this script was that the characters seem far removed from reality. I couldn't understand how these various characters would ever be friends. I was baffled by how these people behaved towards each other and still maintained 'friendships.' I don't understand how someone you work with can slap you
Apr 04, 2009 Kristine rated it really liked it
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
Nov 11, 2015 Joanna rated it it was amazing
Both glowingly simple and complex. LaBute manages to create two characters that are so real and that you can emotionally connect with despite their obvious cartoonishness. They are real and you feel for them, but their situation is highlighted by the extremes of the supporting players. I would be easy to dismiss them as fake with every word, but LaBute manages to reign them in to create a play that puts our societal perceptions in the spot light.
Jun 23, 2009 Kevin rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2013 Liz Bernardo rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 21, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it
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*
Mar 25, 2010 Erika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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."
Jack Hrkach
Aug 14, 2015 Jack Hrkach rated it it was ok
While I will be pilloried by many former students who love Neil LaBute, he is to my mind, over-rated and disappointing - in a way similar to the less good of Mamet (and there's a lot of that) - taking aim, or potshots, at uncomfortable social situations and reveling in it. This play is no exception.
Jan 01, 2012 Teemu rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 10, 2016 Kolumbina rated it really liked it
What a good play. So good and so truthful that it was hard to read. In a few places I had to stop reading (had a feeling that I want to disappear or hide under the table). Oh poor Helen, unlucky with that idiot Tom and a bunch of his shallow friends
Unfortunately Helen wasn't the person I expected, was really miserable and unfortunately she showed Tom how hopeless and desperate she is.
Apr 23, 2009 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
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.
May 20, 2008 Cheryl rated it really liked it
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!
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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
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“TOM … Go on, jump in there. (Prompts her.) Be brave.

HELEN You’re absolutely sure it’s dead, right? Because if it’s just holding its breath, then I’m …

LaBute, Neil (2004-11-29). Fat Pig: A Play (p. 27). Faber & Faber. Kindle Edition.”
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