The Big Fat Company is a ensemble of plus size actors, challenging stereotypes based on appearance and the corporate – beauty industry norm of the body. Through art, the body is shown as a site for defining individual identity, constructing sex and gender ideals, negotiating power, and experimenting with the nature of representation itself. As well as being the site of knowledge and power, the body is thus also a site of resistance power. When we foreground the body from a performance point of view it varies according to many conditions related to race, gender, social, economic, geographic and, historic factors. How and what the performing body signifies, are closely related to the ways in which it is framed for the viewers conception.
The big fat company intends to provide frames to view deeper understandings of the person and communities beyond the body image through theatre.
1. Head 2 Head : The big fat company plays with Hayavadana
“Am I a good actor even though I am fat?
“How does being in this body shape me as an actor?”
“Did Shakespeare say Hamlet was lean?”
In search of answers to these questions, The Big Fat Company plays with Hayavadana and has come up with Head 2 Head, a unique devised theatre performance. By using sections of the iconic Kannada play by Girish Karnad, it interrogates identity and archetypes, and the much-vaunted mind-body (dis)connection.
An important question for actors with large bodies who deal with this quandary on a daily basis is: Where does identity lie: head or body? Or both?
We also examine the body of politics and politics of the body we encounter during our own work as individuals and as a community. We explore prevailing archetypes in the theatre industry in the guise of actors working on a play, using humor to re-look at the fat body.
A third strand of the performance explores the personal experience of being a plus-size body. This strand eschews traditional theatrical devices of narrative, character and dialogue and instead uses a heightened physicality to draw attention to the corporeal form, inviting the audience to directly engage with the bodies on stage.
Lastly, as fat actors, the ‘main’ (read meaty) roles generally go to the thin other. Playing the main protagonists in an iconic play has its own thrill!