Stuffed: A Play About Food

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I love the topic of food. I love to talk about it, read about it, see photos. But then there is the dark side of food that tortures us, makes us obsess about how much of it that we are eating, inflict punishment upon ourselves for over-doing it, and use it to block out emotions.

So, the idea of a play dealing with the topic of food, and eating and obsession was certainly intriguing.

Stuffed, a new play by and starring comedian Lisa Lampanelli, explores the subject.

The show opens with Lisa and three other actresses sharing their favorite disgusting junk food combinations. The four stand on a stage, with a living room set behind them, and super excitedly share their food delights. And they do this for quite a while, at the same heightened level of exaggerated love for their favs… for a while. At the same level. Repeatedly.

Somehow I was not digging on their excitement.

This is when I was hopeful that something else would happen.

I did not understand why there was a living room set, as it really wasn’t necessary. I didn’t understand why these four particular women were in a living room, talking to each other.

Four women from different worlds, one anorexic/bulimic (Jessica Luck), one very thin (Zainab Jah), the other voluptuous (Ann Harada), and Lisa who seems kind of normal in size, all telling their food focused stories. How they stuff down their emotions, why being skinny is a curse, why the anorexic girl became anorexic, and how the voluptuous girl really liked being voluptuous.

Stuffed: A Play About Food

The way the lines were delivered seemed forced and just too manufactured. Yes, there are some good lines, no doubt about it. And probably everyone in that audience, me included, could definitely identify with scenarios  that are presented. Sure, when I am being weighed at my doctor’s office, I always tell the nurse  that I am not looking at the number and she should just jot it down on my chart without telling me.

Or the way I play games with weighing myself.

Yes, there are some funny moments,  but not enough. And Lisa seems to really come alive when she takes the microphone from under a couch pillow and does a little bit of her stand up routine.
But as a play, with an arc, I would say, better off that the “stuff” just be part of her stand up.

Stuffed, directed by Jackson Gay at the McGinn/Cazale Theater, 2162 Broadway, is scheduled to play through November 6.

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