Guess what, internet?
I got the role of Mrs. Linde in A Doll’s House with Infamous Commonwealth Theatre.
La la la. And fuck yeah! (Oops. That’s totally not something Mrs. Linde would say.)
I have to be honest and say that I really didn’t expect to be cast. Because, remember, as I said before, there were a hell of a lot of actresses at that callback. And as a director who has auditioned many of those women before, I was well aware of their amazing talent. And also I felt a little too fat.
Yes, I said fat.
Is that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard? Auditions make me feel fat. Just like basically everything else in the universe, internet. It’s sad, but it’s true.
I’m sure, by this point, it’s clear that I am overweight. And I’m also sure it’s clear that I struggle with body image issues. But it’s probably not super clear (yet) that I will cut a bitch who suggests I am less worthy because of the way I look.
I could talk at great length, and probably will someday, about how my desire to lose weight does not actually mean that I hate myself. And conversely, how my inability (thus far) to have a healthy relationship with food doesn’t mean that I’ve thrown in the towel. I may stumble around up on this high wire balancing act of self-love and self-improvement, but I often fly into a stabbity (great word stolen from this great blogger) rage about the lack of overweight actresses on the stage and screen.
The majority of America is fat. Yet the majority of working actresses are thin. I thought art was supposed to be a reflection of life. What the hell, entertainment industry? And it’s not just me being over-sensitive and paranoid.
I have been to several auditions where I was clearly called in to represent a director’s ridiculous interpretation of fat people. At one film audition, I was told that the character was named Cupcake because she loved to eat cupcakes. Isn’ t that so clever? The character was so brash and overblown that at one point in the show she insisted on showing everyone the shape of her pubic hair while shoving a cupcake in her mouth. Or how about this one? At one audition, I was told that whenever I was onstage, there would be pastries strewn about, and that right before I entered all the other cast members would hide their pastries. And wasn’t that so funny?
What. The. Fuck?
While I love a good donut, I can assure you that you don’t need to hide your fucking pastries from me. Do people really think I would fly into an eating rampage at the sight of sugar? Does my fat seep into my brain and turn me into a raucous crotch-revealing lunatic?
Those were pretty overt examples. But there have been countless auditions where I was called in for the role of “funny fat friend.” You know her. Loud. Overblown. Lacking in nuance. Lacking in depth. Simple safe comic relief. It makes me sad. And stabbity mad.
And that’s just the auditions. Let’s talk a bit about the shows I was actually in. How about the time I was in a show called The Most Massive Woman Wins about a bunch of overweight women about to undergo plastic surgery in response to their body issues. At a respectable size 14 (the smallest size I can remember being in my adult life), I was the largest woman there by about 50 pounds.
And the critics. Oh, the critics. Over the years, they have referred to me as the overweight actress, the statuesque actress, and my personal favorite, the zaftig actress. Though my weight was irrelevant both to the development of the story and to my ability as an actor in each of these shows, critics felt it necessary to point out to all potential viewers that they would have the unpleasant? unique? thrilling? experience of watching a fat chick act.
And I’m sure some of you have read this henious Marie Claire article about how gross it is to watch fat people on tv. It’s all the rage this week.
Do directors, audiences, and critics (many of whom are overweight themselves thankyouverymuch) have that hard a time believing that a fat woman can feel all the feelings a thin person feels. Guess what, guys? Fat people are vulnerable, powerful, sexual, fearful… oh Jesus… I’ve gone terribly off topic. I came here to tell you my good news.
ANYWAY. You can see from this brief glimpse into my theatrical history why I might walk into an audition and immediately think “I’ll never get cast. I’m too fat.” And this audition was no exception. I was the fattest woman being considered for either role. And that made me leave feeling, well, too fat to cast.
But I got the role, motherfuckers. I’m playing… a friend to the main female character. HA! But guess what? My character is not there for comic relief. She does not reveal her pubic hair. She is not raucous. She does not shove pastries in her mouth. In fact, it is the thin main character who secretly shoves pastries in her mouth. (Do you have something you need to share with us, thin people?)
This is a role in one of the great classics of the stage. It has romance, depth, nuance and more. And it’s mine.
This makes me the opposite of stabbity.
Come see me in it. It opens January 22.