New York Theatre May Hold Answer to Obesity

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Do you recognize these names?

     

    • Bill Germanakos
    • Jim Germankos
    • Nicole Michalik
    • Alfredo Dinten
    • Suzanne Mendonca
    • Erik Chopin
    • Tara Costa

     

    If you watch TV and weight loss shows, you should know all of these people.  They were contestants on The Biggest Loser, some of them winners from different seasons.  If you are wondering what they are doing, grouped together in this list?  They are now stars on Broadway.  Well, not quite, but they are performing in a theatre for a limited run, in a production called The Diet Show.  Presented and co-written by comedian Gilbert Godfrey, each contestant describes their personal battle with weight and their triumphs or failures before and after the NBC expeirence.  In the case of Mr. Chopin, who regained all 214 pounds lost on The Biggest Loser, you learn that keeping weight off after the show was not a given.  Alfredo Dinton, another contestant, shares that “if you don’t cut the pizza pie, it’s all one piece.”  At least that was his attitude before he participated in the weight loss gamble on the show.

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    Tara Costa actually gets the audience on their feet, flapping their arms as homage to exercise, while Jim Germankos sings a medley of food-related advertising jingles, as if he still can’t get them (and temptation) out of his head.  Two cast members who were not part of The Biggest Loser cast, but who struggle with weight, showcase humorous one liners and in one hilarious demonstration, how to get into Spanx when you are seriously overweight.  One cast member remembers her beauty contestant youth as she recounts her weight battles that came later in life.  All of these dieters turned actors share the abusive relationships they had with food, while Dinton calls himself a “food-truck stalker.”  The single cast member who really evokes some emotion is Erik Chopin who clearly feels self-loathing as he discusses his full reversal of weight loss.

     

    So I struggle with the value and meaning of this stage production.  It’s certainly easy to laugh at fat people jokes.  Many comedians share that they fear losing their heft because it’s part of their act.  I suppose if you lose weight and want to joke about it – who am I to stop you.  Certainly sharing the uphill journey to weight loss can be inspirational and a flashpoint to change for people struggling with their own weight issues.  Maybe I’d feel better if there was a Zumba class at intermission; or if the beverage of choice at the concession stand was water.  Or maybe I am just uncomfortable about the idea of a comedian like Godfrey who appears to have been thin all his life, at the helm of this production.  Is he invested in there being a meaningful experience for theater goers or is he simply out to make a buck at the expense of former fat people and one still-fat person?  Does that even matter since theatre is synonymous with entertainment?

     

    Would you go to a production like this?  Is it a good idea or bad idea as a form of entertainment?  Have a perspective on this topic?  Please share!!

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Published On: January 14, 2013