"Schoolgirl Figure" at the Bloomington Playwrights Project is Wendy MacLoed’s social comedy about eating disorders. As I prepared for, I went to a large drugstore and planted myself in the middle of the aisle that contained diet medications and supplements. It was a long aisle. There were dozens of different bottles claiming to ensure painless and rapid weight loss. There were vitamin combinations, stimulating combinations and much, much more. Any market economist could have told me that we are obsessed with weight. MacLoed has set out to make a funny play by lampooning eating disorders at their most critical point of attack, young women.
In "Schoolgirl Figure" there’s a weird school-wide competition going on among the girls. The dim bulb resident hunk, Brad played by Brad Fletcher, is the prize of the woman who is the skinniest in school. The competition is so fierce that "Schoolgirl Figure" begins as Brad’s third-girl-friend-in-a -row, Monique played by Tanaya Hurst, is dying of malnutrition. What’s worse two other girls are already working on whittling themselves down to be the next in line.
The fierce competition is between tall, lean Renee, played by Lyndsey Anderson and shorter, blond and pretty lean as well, Jeanine played by Kim Chapman. Renee is the darker, smarter and wittier of the two, but sunny Jeanine is written with just a touch of the comic blond dumbness. The women are divided into two camps. There are the anorexics who don’t eat and worship Karen Carpenter. There are the bulemics, who eat but purge and worship Lady Di. Anne Acker plays Renee’s side kick, Patty. Patty is a bulemic, but not very good at it.
"Schoolgirl Figure" is long on talk especially between the hard Renee and the softer but compliant Patty. MacLoed is a witty and insightful writer and comments like, "calories are the dark side of food," "She’s not much of a threat as a bulemic, She has a lazy gag reflex," and "Hunger is no excuse for eating," came in a steady stream. The shallowness of the sad drive to be thin takes a pretty solid pounding.
The set by Mark Frederic Smith is simple, but gracefully conceived and executed. It’s all in dark pink with blue highlights and a yellow band neatly wrapping the package.
Rick Fonte handled the responsibility of both directing and composing the sounds and music for "Schoolgirl Figure."
You can see this and other WFIU theatre, film and opera reviews on our web site at WFIU dot Indiana dot edu.
Wendy Macloed’s "Schoolgirl Figure" is a humorous look at eating disorders that doesn’t blink at the seriousness of the issue. It plays at the Bloomington Playwrights Project this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at eight and Sunday at two.