"But it really is about moving past that first impression and getting to know the individual. The world could do with less intolerance. I'm hoping this play makes people assess their own thinking."
Involved in theatre since the early 1970s, Les cut his teeth with the Kwinana Theatre Workshop at age 12 before moving to Newman and starting the Newman Amateur Theatrical Society in 1983. He resurrected the Port Hedland Playhouse in 1995 after another move and returned to Perth two years later, directing shows for the Old Mill Theatre and Playlovers.
Fat Pig is the first show Les has directed in a decade, after living overseas for the past nine years. "The first challenge was the casting how do you request a person that is plus-sized and comfortable enough with themselves be referred to by the title?" he said. "The other is keeping the balance so the show doesn't get too heavy with the audience feeling like they're being lectured. There needs to be the lighter moments."
Briaa Dunn plays the role of Helen. "She's a funny, confident and bubbly woman in her late 20s," she said. "By day she is a librarian; by night she is a classic wartime movie buff. Her character is refreshing she is who she is and she makes no apologies for being herself, including her plus-size appearance. The biggest challenge is learning to eat while talking at the same time because, in just about every scene, Helen is eating something."
First involved in a high school production of A Christmas Carol, Briana has worked with Limelight, Stirling, Playlovers and Roleystone Theatres and ICW Productions on Oklahoma!, Noah The Musical, The Talented Mr Ripley, The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Oliver, mainly as a stage manager. In 2014, she made a return to acting in Annie and received an award for best on-stage chemistry in Blak Yak Theatre's 24-Hour Stage Project.
"I was initially drawn to Fat Pig by Helen's character," Briana said. "She has an amazing personality that is positive and upbeat but you also get the chance to explore her inner vulnerabilities. Helen rides through an amazing rollercoaster of emotions during the play and I can't wait to really sink my teeth into it."
Fat Pig plays at 8pm February 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24 and 25 with 2pm matinees February 12 and 19. Tickets are $25, $20 concession book on 9367 8719, email@example.com or at oldmilltheatre.com.au/tickets. The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).