The word ‘fat’ has numerous connotations – and one group that’s performing at this year’s Absolut Fringe Festival is aiming to explore all things corpulent.
FAT is a show brought to us by the members of Talking Shop Ensemble, Oonagh Murphy, Aisling Byrne and Lisa Walsh. The trio came together while studying Drama and Theatre in Trinity College, Dublin. “There were two reasons that we worked well together: the first was our preference for working in a very collaborative sense – rather than traditional structures of playwright – director – actor – and so on; the second was, I suppose what you’d call, our ideological leanings,” explains Oonagh.
The group soon realised that they were very influenced by the feminist performance art of the 70s, 80s and 90s. “While everyone else was emulating Declan Donnellan or staging Harold Pinter or Enda Walsh, we were trying to recreate the leftist, angry, messy performances of Karen Finley, Marina Abromiv and Carolee Schneeman,” recalls Oonagh. “We loved how these females interrogated body politics in a very visceral and theatrical way. And that’s why we started to look at where that sort of performance would fit in an Irish context and, different from the gender discourse that framed their work, what are the issues that mark female identity today.”
It was born out of a frustration with consistently having images of how we should look shoved down our throats. It was feeling despair even at the growing popularity of schmucksters like Gok Wan – who peddle out a philosophy of body confidence but still inherently buy into (make money from) a crudely homogenized image of femininity, of corporeality. It is to do with the pornographisation of popular culture and the paradox of post-feminism. And yet, it is also about a struggle to articulate on these issues – as theatre-makers, as women, as skinny women, etc.So FAT is about a struggle and in essence it is a middle-finger to that force that makes you wonder how you look onstage wearing only a pair of control pants.
FAT is about skinny bitches, skinny lattes and skinny jeans. FAT is about the leftover pizza you had for breakfast. FAT is learning HOW TO LOOK GOOD NAKED. FAT is video chat. Channel hopping.
wots ur name sxy?
FAT is looking at photos of strangers on Facebook, and LOL-ing. FAT is skinny, ugg-mug, butter-face and junk-in-the-trunk.FAT is about being trapped in the television. And not sure of the way out.Talking Shop are trying to see whether we can even make theatre about FAT.And we want you to watch us while we try.”
For more information, log onto www.fringefest.com/event/fat. Tickets are priced from €10.