A fat-focused show — inspired by and written after a series of interviews conducted between fat playwright Katie Hileman and a community of self-identified fat people — is running at the Voxel in Baltimore, MD, from January 25- February 10. If you grew up in a body of size, there are so many parts of this show that will resonate with you!
About “I Will Eat You Alive”
The show is set at a dinner table, and 11 audience members are invited to “dine” with the actors at the dinner party. The dinner party is thrown by Fat Woman #1, played by Vicky Graham, “celebrating” their decision to lose weight. The audience is met with some really honest moments like praying to god to make our bodies look like everyone else’s, sexual assault while being in a fat body and discussing eating disorders.
With each dinner course, the trio of fat actors confronts diet culture, fatphobia, and society’s expectations. The courses range from chocolate powder to vegetable broth to literally nothing, an empty platter, for dessert. The main course is something we’ve all heard so much about lately- Ozempic.
Ozempic has been popularized all over the internet, by celebrities and everyday people alike. Doctors have even been recommending it for overweight children. Ozempic is a drug to treat diabetes but is being used off-label for weight loss. Many insurance companies do not cover Ozempic’s use for weight loss, which means people are paying potentially hundreds of dollars a month out of pocket for this drug. It has serious side effects for people who use it in the short term, but because fatness is still seen as a “health and moral failure,” the drug has become incredibly popular.
There was a very poignant moment where comments from internet “health concern trolls” were projected onto the stark white dining table. There is something about the cast verbalizing these comments (typically only seen on a computer or phone screen) and seeing them flash across the table that makes you really think about how ill-informed and intentionally hurtful these types of comments really are.
My Favorite Moments From the Show
If you plan to see the show and hate spoilers, skip this part! Some of my favorite moments include:
Wedding Vows to Salad
We have all been told to “eat more salad” because, of course, one meal of vegetables is just going to transform our bodies overnight! *insert eyeball roll here*
The vows, read by Betse Lyons, Fat Woman #2, were followed by throwing the lettuce into the air around the dinner table, similar to rose petals at a wedding. It was comedic but felt so hard on a deep level by the audience
Jenny Craig Makes an Appearance
Because how can you have a show about fat trauma without including good ‘ol Jenny Craig?! Fat Woman #3, played by Meghan Taylor, had some epic Jenny monologues emphasized by a stole crocheted with different color measuring tapes. That was such a perfect touch to the costumes.
“I Will Eat You Alive” Closes February 10, 2024
As the show progresses, the audience witnesses the journey toward fat liberation, self-acceptance, not putting limits on yourself, and ultimately – freedom. This includes a scene with a giant cake and lots of moaning.
After each character is on board with releasing themselves from the clutches of diet culture, they symbolically free themselves by taking off their outer garments and revealing brightly colored underwear. The end of the show is meant to be a celebration. A celebration of bodies, a celebration of self, a celebration of liberation.
This show runs through February 10th at the Voxel in Baltimore, MD. I highly recommend attending one of the final showings!