After seeing an excellent performance by Mighty Heart Theatre exploring the mental health, today I was enlightened by When I Feel Like Crap, I Google Kim Kardashian Fat, a performance that centres around body image.
Upon entering the theatre there are tags placed on the seats that say “When I feel like crap I…” and the actors Lisa- Marie Hoctor and Samantha Edwards wander around chatting to the audience and encouraging them to write down what they do when they feel like crap, which is later turned into a song involving the whole audience.
They use the style of verbatim to construct their performance, after interviewing women between the ages of 16 to 90, they tell genuine stories from real people through theatre.
The set is covered in magazine clippings, the performance begins with two mothers talking about the pressure to lose weight after pregnancy. They describe how they feel when they see celebrities that have returned to their post baby weight in merely five weeks. They explain about women who were so worried about their weight they’d starve themselves during pregnancy and their baby would be born prematurely.
The performance explores the ideas surrounding beauty culture and the effort women go to in order to feel accepted into society and it’s shocking that it leads to harming themselves and others. There is a touching scene in which a young mother talks about her daughter and how it is even more competitive nowadays for this generation and how desperate she is for her daughter to not suffer because of it.
Amongst the more powerful and touching scenes are moments of comedy, something that Mighty Heart Theatre do impeccably. Dressed up as a princess, they explore the idea of unachievable beauty standards. There is a story about a young girl who auditioned for Disney World to be a Disney princess character and she describes the standards that have to be met in order to be “perfect”. Dressed up as a princess she makes a song out of a collection of statements women have made about their own body. Whilst it is hilarious to hear her singing these statements in an exaggerated princess voice, it is also quite heartbreaking to hear how these women body shame themselves.
Although most of the piece is about women who try and lose weight in order to feel beautiful, interestingly they used a contrasting story from a woman who is slim and feels a different pressure. It is significant to feature this in the performance, they mention how society refers to “real women” as being women with boobs and a bum, essentially a curvy woman. Whereas surely a “real woman” is just a woman, any woman.
Not only do Mighty Heart Theatre put together insightful performances that are exciting, emotional and engaging, they also capture real life stories incredibly. Their characterisation is remarkable and their ability to instantly transform into a different character within seconds and make it utterly convincing is truly impressive.
When I Feel Like Crap, I Google Kim Kardashian Fat is such a relevant piece of theatre that is performed in a fun, captivating and eye-opening way. After watching two performances by Mighty Heart Theatre, I am excited to see what they do next.