Though one half of the husband-wife team at the Pangdemonium Theatre Company, we like to think Tracie Pang is the dominant one.
Taking the lead once again (as always) as director, Pang welcomes the new season with a play, a departure from their emotionally charged drama pieces of 2013. It is labelled as a romantic comedy, but every production Pangdemonium takes on is linked by the social taboos each one explores.
For Fat Pig, it is obesity.
Starring newcomer Frances Lee (Helen) and Gavin Yap (Tom), this love story between a skinny boy and a chubby girl complicates itself when the lad is too ashamed to admit to the relationship. Here, Pang talks all about it and tops it off with a gibe that would make you giggle.
What prompted you to kick off 2014 with Fat Pig?
Last year was quite heavy in terms of content for us so we wanted to start this year with something a bit more fun. This show is raucously funny with a great big heart, it was just what we were looking for.
How was it like planning for and directing this play?
It has been great working on this play. For the first time, I am working with four actors who are completely new to me, and discovering a whole host of new options with them has made this a great journey for me.
Any challenges faced so far?
I think the biggest challenge with this show was finding the right person to play Helen. We needed someone who was plus size, who could not only act but was confident and comfortable with herself, and had the kind of personality that is joyful and infectious. Being big was not going to be enough—I needed to find a good chemistry between my romantic couple, so it was a tall order. Thankfully, we found Frances!
Is there anything you’ll be doing differently for the play to tailor it to the local audience?
Not really. The play stands better without adaptation. We looked into it but it just didn’t work. The only thing we have done is update a couple of the references.
Personally, how have you dealt with insecurities and discrimination, especially pertaining to physical appearances?
I am a pretty tall, big person so I am used to a variety of comments. I remember getting a comment about my weight not long after I had had my second child and being hurt by it, but as you get older you get more secure in who you are, and those people who like to comment are not worth my energy.
Anything to say to those who are still unsure of catching Fat Pig?
In the words of Helen, “You don’t know what you’re missing.” This play will shock you, make you laugh, make you smile and maybe even bring tears to your eyes.
And to end off, what’s your favourite underused insult?
“I’d like to see things from your point of view but I can’t seem to get my head that far up my ass.” I don’t go in for insults but this often fits the bill!
Grab your Fat Pig tickets here.
Venue: DBS Arts Centre
Date: 13 Feb – 2 Mar 2014
Admission: S$40 – S$55
Advisory: 16 years and above (Due to coarse language)
Photo credit: Pangdemonium Theatre Company