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Fat can be funny
Savannah Actor's Theatre presents <i>The Most Massive Woman Wins</i>
Director Sasha McCurdy

Sasha McCurdy is a little worried about the play she’s directing.

“It’s beautiful and it’s been an absolute gift,” she says. “The actors are wonderful.

“Everything is coming together like a dream come true. I knock on wood every time I talk about it. Why is everything about this one easy?”

Maybe its because McCurdy is so passionate about this production. She is directing The Most Massive Woman Wins, written by Madeline George.

“It’s about four women in a liposuction clinic, none of whom need liposuction,” McCurdy says. “The first half is very funny. The women are bonding.

“The play goes at breakneck speed. They talk about men, clothes, chocolate. There are flashbacks to show their stories.”

The flashbacks show that the four were made painfully aware of their appearance at an early age. “Even at ages six and seven, other children were calling them names or not letting them play,” McCurdy says. “Then the action goes back into the liposuction clinic and each explains why she needs liposuction.”

The arguments the woman make are actually very logical, McCurdy says. “Each gets a monologue to explain why she needs to be there,” she says. “It is a roller coaster of a show.”

The theme is an important one, in light of the many eating disorders that seem so prevalent today. “People in American eat until they are so full,” McCurdy says. “That’s just as much a health problem as throwing up the food.”

The play is about food, men and the things women want. “It’s about perception and low self-perception,” McCurdy says.

It isn’t a very well-known play, however. “It was written in the mid to late 90s,” McCurdy says. “I saw it twice in 1999. I fell in love with it then.”

Cast members are Jin Hi Rand, Billie Stirewalk, Danica Leigh and Valerie Lavelle, who play the patients, and Hannah Gold, who plays not just a nurse, but is “the epitome of all things beautiful in women,” McCurdy says.

“She acts like a chorus for the production. She’s always behind the women, reminding them what perfection looks like.”

Rehearsals started about a month ago. The characters all are vulnerable, and the actors must have courage to present themselves this way, McCurdy says. “Nothing is harder than to be vulnerable in front of a whole lot of people you don’t know,” she says.

“I love working on shows with strong women as strong women. It’s not a show that’s easy on the performers. For actors, so much of who you can play is based on what you look like. It’s a hard show, and I’m very proud to say that not a single one of them has fallen apart yet.”

In addition to the play, the theater’s gallery space will feature the photographs of Nyssa Travis, a photography student in New York City. Travis also is McCurdy’s younger sister.

“She came here for the summer,” McCurdy says. “She did a whole series of photos that goes along with the theme of the play. I think she did a wonderful job.”

McCurdy says she has “such a deeply rooted passion” for the play.

“I think it’s important to do this kind of show,” she says. “This is the kind of show people need to go see. It has a really important message. It’s definitely the kind of play I recommend everyone ages 17 to 35 to see.”

However, McCurdy doesn’t recommend the play for anyone younger than 14. “It’s a grown-up play,” she says. “Its a good play to see with your girlfriends. Bring a tub of ice cream.”

The Most Massive Woman Wins by Madeline George will be presented Aug. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 26, 30 and 31 and Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. at the Savannah Actor’s Theatre, 703D Louisville Rd. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for seniors and students. Call 232-6080, email or visit