Plus-sized performance and poignance
Thighs, sighs and comic surprise. That’s another way to look at Monica Parker’s hit show, “Sex, Pies and a Few White Lies.” Her motto, not surprisingly in a performance that focuses on weight issues — among many other things — is, “Life is short; eat dessert first!”
As an actor, writer and producer, Parker has been telling stories and entertaining audiences for years. “If I were alone on a desert island with just a pencil,” she says, “I’d be fine.”
In Parker’s view, “You start you childhood as a liar and a voyeur. You don’t know you’re a writer. I always told stories. And I was always fascinated by other people’s soap opera lives.”
She was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to an Austro-Hungarian mother, age 45, and a 50 year-old Brit.
“I was the accidental child,” says Parker. And she swears she was “born overweight.”
Actually, she confesses to being only 6½ pounds at birth, “but one hour later, I weighed 62 pounds. I blame genetics – plus cheese and chocolate. One Christmas, I decorated the tree with chicken legs and donuts!”
All this features into Parker’s amusing, heartbreaking, autobiographical show.
“What my play is about at its core,” says the funnywoman who’s worked with producer/director Ivan Reitman, actor Dan Ayckroyd and her other good actor-friend, the late Gilda Radner (“who always thought she was fat”), “is self-acceptance and the 101 humiliations it took for me to get there.”
Her candor is so disarmingly spot-on that she was invited to be the honest-but-humorous keynote speaker for the National Association of Eating Disorder Psychiatrists.
“We’ve been made to be so neurotic about food and eating and body image,” Parker says, in a serious moment, “thanks to the media and advertisers and corporations. Whether it’s five pounds or 50, it can make you crazy. But why should we all have to be the same?
“Nobody escapes,” she continues. “Everyone struggles with their place in life. Everyone is insecure. Everyone has an issue. Mine was body image. I always say about my body, ‘I have the kind of alcoholism that shows.’ We’re a very addictive society. And fear is on our daily diet. We’re held hostage by fear. The obesity epidemic in America is not just about junk food. We’re also eating to suppress panic attacks.”
Parker’s 90-minute show speaks most directly to women (“they get it in their chromosomes”), but men can relate as well. And the food/eating/weight issues are only part of the plot.
“It’s a love story – to myself, my body, and my husband. Also, it’s about a dysfunctional family – and who doesn’t have one of those? It’s a universal story about the pressure we put on ourselves. I wanted to write from the place of deepest truth, without censorship, and be funny at the same time; then you don’t hurt people’s feelings. There’s very little you can’t say under the umbrella of comedy.”
The show debuted last year in Toronto, and it proved to be both a hilarious and a cathartic experience for many in the audience. This is its U.S. premiere.
So, The Weight is Over (the original title of her show): Monica Parker is here to encourage you to laugh and think — and accept yourself.
“Sex, Pies & A Few White Lies” will be presented for two nights only, Monday, March 21 and Tuesday, March 22, at 7:30pm, at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr., Solana Beach
Tickets ($20-25) are available at 858-481-1055 or www.northcoastrep.org
NOTE: Strong language and adult themes. Not recommended for those 16 and under.