Fatboy Presents a Viciously Hilarious Funhouse Mirror of North American Society
Maybe a mirror isn’t the best way to see ourselves. Maybe what we need is a funhouse mirror instead, its distortions exposing the parts of ourselves we don’t like to see. But if we saw them, how would we react? With horror, disgust – even laughter? In Fatboy, written by John Clancy in 1995, the answer is: all three.
Post Productions brings this raunchy, fast-paced satire to The Shadowbox Theatre for a three-week run beginning October 9th. Although written as a satire of American culture, politics, and fixations, director Michael K. Potter sees its targets as more diverse. “Fatboy satirizes consumerism, lust for power, and selfishness,” he explains. “The USA is certainly the biggest target for that sort of satire, obviously, but the same problems exist in many other countries. Including Canada. These problems arise from universal human vices. So we’re using the play to make fun of ourselves as well – and we’ve not-so-subtly included Canada in our production in a way that will make people laugh.”
The story itself is simple. A horrific clown named Fatboy (played by Joey Wright) and his equally brash and rapacious wife Fudgie (played by Michele Legere) live in squalor, dreaming of power, consuming everything they can, and murdering anyone who annoys them. When Fatboy is tried for war crimes, he turns the proceedings into a mockery of justice and leverages the experience to catapult himself and Fudgie into power. By the end of the play they have declared themselves king and queen. But power doesn’t prove as satisfying as they’d hoped – and betrayal is a constant threat. Joey Ouelette, Nikolas Prsa, and Fay Lynn play various supporting characters throughout the story.
As has become tradition (the play is, after all, inspired by Alfred Jarry’s satire of French culture and politics, Ubu Roi), every character in Fatboy is a clown of some sort. – literally and figuratively Potter explains, “Clowns have a very long history, and part of their traditional job in many cultures is to force us to confront truths we don’t want to acknowledge through laughter. Clowns can also be unsettling, even scary. They’re unpredictable, chaotic, and grotesque. We’ve leaned into all of that, blended together in a truly unique cocktail.”
This production of Fatboy is a family reunion of sorts. Nearly every member of cast and crew worked on one or both of Post Productions’ widely acclaimed Equus (2018) and The Pillowman (2019), including musician Dave Nisbet, who composed a unique score that draws from classic patriotic American songs, costumer Karen Kilbride, who created 13 original clown costumes, and set/prop designer Matthew Burgess, who has created astonishing three-dimensional art for Post Productions since 2017.
Fatboy by John Clancy will be performed at The Shadowbox Theatre Oct 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24. Doors open at 7:30 PM for an 8:00 show. Tickets $25, available online only at postproductionswindsor.ca, where patrons can also review the venue’s Covid-19 health and safety policies.