Local playwright opens second run of play close to her heart

GRAND CENTER – This Thursday, because why not? theatre company will open its production of “Fat” by local playwright Shannon Geier at Satori, 3003 Locust Street.

Directed by Elaine M. Laws, the play follows Amy Prestley, a woman with a good marriage, great friends and a fulfilling career. But Amy is also a woman of a larger size, and it affects herself and everyone around her. The play takes “a realistic look at the societal messages communicated with regards to size and the challenges of balancing personal health with positive body image in a world where ‘thin’ equals ‘better.’”

This will be the second time the play has been produced.

Geier said she first wrote the play in 2008 and then set it aside in a drawer, only to rediscover a passion for the material later. She said the material was very personal, drawing on her own personal experiences with body image and weight.

“‘Fat’ to me really is an exploration of weight, body image, kind of in our society. It’s something that has affected me kind of my entire life, and just the way that it does affect people and the people around them,” she explained.

Geier has no formal training or background in theater, though she said she had always loved theater. Some time after writing that first draft of “Fat,” Geier found out about Tesseract Theatre’s New Play Development Initiative and submitted her play to be developed there.

Working on “Fat” in this capacity, she said, helped spark her further interest in theater, leading her to take improv classes, explore Fringe festivals and eventually start because why not? theatre company, through which she is producing “Fat.”

Of naming the company, she said she got the idea from her improv classes. Her teacher would always say, “Well, let’s try this, because why not?” That’s a sentiment that stuck with Geier.

Since then, Geier has continued writing plays, often quick to produce them soon after completing them, but “Fat” is especially near and dear to her heart. She first produced it in 2017, where she found her production partner, Laws, who is directing the production this time around.

All of Geier’s plays tend to focus on subject matter not often seen on stage, she said. And it’s the focus on dialogue in theater that really interests Geier.

“To me, dialogue is just very powerful. It’s so subjective,” she said. “When I say ABC, you’re gonna hear XYZ, but that guy over there is gonna hear 123. And just kind of revealing, is there subtext here, is there something going on?”

This plays prominently in “Fat,” she said.

“There are twelve characters in this play,” she explained, “and none of them are wrong.”

“Fat” opens on Thursday at Satori. The show runs this weekend and next, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 7 p.m. Sundays. To purchase tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fat-tickets-61911418720?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.

Samantha Auch

Author: Samantha Auch

Sam Auch graduated from Knox College, where she studied Theater and Gender Studies. Outside her work with The Northsider, she works as an actor, playwright, and artist. You can found out more about her at her website thisisauchward.com

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