Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Theatre to present Neil LaBute’s controversial Fat Pig

Media Contact:

KINGSTON, RI -- September 26, 2006 -- The University of Rhode Island’s Theatre Department kicks off the 2006-2007 season with Fat Pig by Neil LaBute.

With such an off-putting title, you may wonder what the play is about?

“It’s fast, witty, sometimes cruel and tender,” says theatre professor and director Bryna Wortman. “While it’s entertaining, it’s also thought-provoking. Who hasn’t succumbed to the demands and traditional societal standards of beauty and acceptability, the need to be ‘in’ with the crowd even though our lack of inner strength makes us even more alone and lonely? Can we ever say ‘vive la difference’ and mean it and live with it?”

"There are many sensitive, contemporary plays which invite audiences to face their prejudices and reflect upon their personal responses to controversial subject matter. This play is one of those challenges for both URI Theatre and its patrons," comments Paula McGlasson, chair of the Theatre Department.

The play, which contains adult language, will be performed in J Studio of the URI Theatre, Fine Arts Center, Kingston campus from Oct. 12 to 14 and 19 to 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 15 and 22 at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $14 general, $10 seniors, URI faculty and staff and $8 students. For reservations, call the Theatre Box Office at 401-874-5843. For more information, call 401-874-5921.

Ben Brantley, New York Times theater critic calls Fat Pig “the most engaging and unsettling of Mr. LaBute’s plays…” Theater critic David Ansen called LaBute “the most legitimately provocative and polarizing playwright at work today “ in the New York Magazine.

The story line follows four young adults in their late 20’s to early 30’s – two men and two women – struggle with the pull between who they actually are and who they are forced to be – by peer pressure and media influence.

Jeannie looks fantastic in a bikini but can’t get attention from Tom, the golden boy in the corner office. Carter cannot abide “extra” flesh on a woman. Helen, a pretty, smart, funny sexy woman, is a plus size. Tom loves Helen in private but cannot muster the strength to walk hand-in-hand with her in public.

A panel discussion, moderated by the director will follow the Oct. 13 evening performance. Psychology Professor Shanette M. Harris; Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Philosophy Professor Lynn Pasquerella; Grace Frenzel, University psychologist and consultant to Student Affairs; and Sociology/Anthropology Professor Calvin B. Peters will discuss matters of body image, self-acceptance, societal influences and pressures and an individual’s ethical and moral choices. A question and answer session will follow with a dialogue on diversity and inclusion in American Life.

The season’s first MATChat, short for matinee chat, with the director, cast, designers and crew will follow the matinee performance on Sunday, Oct. 15. Audience members have an opportunity to interact and get the answers to those questions they were always curious about.

URI Theatre alum Patrick Lynch is the scenic designer, Renee Berthelette, a senior theatre major, is the costume designer, Michelle Raposo, a senior theatre major, is lighting designer, and Michael Martineau is the guest sound director.

Members of the cast, their characters and hometowns follow:

Cast Character Hometown

Jessica Kody, Helen, Dublin, Ohio
Amanda Ruggiero, Jeannie, Smithfield
Patrick D. Cullen, Tom , Narragansett
Joshua Short, Carter, South Kingstown
Jamie Dufault, Tom (understudy), Narragansett
Nile Hauver, Carter (understudy), Coventry
Jackie Muglia, Jeannie (understudy), South Plainfield, N.J.
Leah Kolb, Helen (understudy), Monterey, California


Pictured above
URI students Amanda Ruggiero of Smithfield, Joshua Short of South Kingstown, and Patrick Cullen of Narragansett star in the URI Theatre Production of Fat Pig. The play will be performed in J Studio of the URI Theatre’s Fine Arts Center, Kingston campus from Oct. 12 to 14 and 19 to 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 15 and 22 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $14 general, $10 seniors, URI faculty/staff and $8 students. For reservations, call the Theatre Box Office at 401-874-5843.
For more information, call 401-874-5921. URI Theatre photo by Randy Osga.