Sex, Pies & A Few White Lies, Monica Parker’s “mostly true one-and-a-half woman show,” runs one more night only — Saturday night — and those who appreciate masterful storytelling, brilliant characterization and honest portrayals of our human struggles had best not miss it. In addition to providing an entertaining evening of theater, she scores high marks for courage, tackling a subject no one seems to want to talk about, even if — or more likely, especially if — we are all too familiar with the reality of the matter: being fat.
In this 90-minute whirlwind, Parker recounts the rocky landscape of her overweight childhood, teenage years and adulthood against the backdrop of society’s narrow view of beauty. Her tales are often surprising, sometimes heartbreaking and yet always tempered with good humor. A portrayal of such lonely and painful truths could be difficult to watch were it not coming from one who has since found self-love and a fulfilling life. Over the course of the evening, she skillfully embodies about a dozen characters, slipping in and out of each one fluidly with small changes of posture and voice.
Parker, who grew up in Scotland and Canada, eventually came to Los Angeles, where she developed a career as an award-winning writer and actress. “Hollywood,” she muses. “Where they invented the size zero.”
While she initially plays the subject matter broadly for laughs, full of self-deprecating stories about her weakness in the face of food, soon the stories becomes much more frank. Veering into raunchy at times (definitely not for children), Parker’s account of her life is keenly personal and yet ultimately universal. Even if weight is not your issue — and it is likely any woman in the audience can identify with her to some extent — elements of anyone’s battles for approval from others and, ultimately, from oneself, will be easily recognized here.
— Justine Sutton of Santa Barbara is a freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer.