CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Marriott’s ‘Mamma Mia!’ Rosie takes on body shaming in ‘Sun-Times’ review

www.chicagolandmusicaltheatre.com: I’ll start this by saying, reviews are reviews. If you read ’em, you’re dancing with the devil. You may like what you see and you may not. I read them because I’m a spaz and I can’t handle not knowing what’s out in the universe regarding my person.

I’ve been called lackluster. I’ve been called a budding star. I’ve been called the best in the show. I’ve been called the worst in the show. I do a little dance with the devil every time, digest the words and eventually (good or bad) they fall away.

7 comments:

Claire Krueger said...

While body shape has to be acknowledged as it does affect the physical presence of the actor on stage that's not to say one body type is better than others. I have a sister four years younger than I am and she inherited my grandmother’s fast metabolism, meaning she looks as if shes anorexic. She eats 3,000+ calories a day on a diet of %50 sugar, yet she can’t maintain any weight. Her height combined with the fast metabolism means she’s the poster child for anorexia and faces issues for her appearance. One of her best friends is slightly overweight and when she’s over for dinner it’s painful to watch her eat a fraction of a meal or no meal at all. Even with my petite size I classify as overweight on the BMI, because of my height and breast size I am considered overweight despite the fact that I have a perfectly average size. Even while I was running 8 miles a day and in peak condition I could never reach the average size. And finally I just said fuck it and stopped weighing myself. It’s hard enough for me, who only has minor issues so I can hardly imagine what it’s like to stand on stage and fight those issues at the same time.

Article Rating:
8/10
Notes:
Zebras are just horses with stripes

Taylor Steck said...

With the theatre community being as accepting as it is, it's such a shame to still hear comments and reviews like this. To be honest, unless the body type of a character is explicitly stated and is somehow crucial to the understanding of the story and the plot line, then an actress' body shape shouldn't matter. It's already hard enough for actress' as it is, constantly having to be exposed in front of an audience, and always expecting to look camera ready, being shamed for the shape of their body is so disheartening. It's also important to show different body types to audiences, and to not separate curvier women into this classified "real women" category that the article talks about. All woman that have an existing body are real bodies. It's impossible to have an imaginary body, and the stigma around these "real bodies,'' in an attempt to celebrate curvier women also invalidates so many other women, and crushes any notion of inclusivity or diversity. Hopefully as we continue to move towards progression, we can also see reviews that are about the content of the show and not about arbitrary details.

Annie Scheuermann said...

It is just too easy to judge actors bodies. One of the greatest tools an actor has is their body and how they use it. For critics, its just so easy to say how their body type effects the role and compares to the rest on stage. I can't blame the author of the review and call out how terrible it is to label some bodies "perfect" and others "real", because it happens and it is just easy. I know it has happened at this school. So, I want to articulate how good the response is from the actress. She took a stand and is sharing a positive message to move forward, not spreading more hate, and shared some personal insight to her relationship with her body. I hope that if this becomes the norm, that then the reviewers will realize what those comments actually do. It find it almost like in elementary school when you review something, you say the things you see - the sky is blue. And that's what the reviewer did, said what she saw, and it's not helpful. I would way rather read about how the design effected the themes of the show, the atmosphere the director created ect. step up reviewers.

Evan Schild said...

It’s really a shame that in 2017 a review was made of that nature. Nowhere in Mamma Mia does the characters have to fit in to some type of look. The point is for them to look “real”. It is very upsetting to see that was said and then immediately followed by a slap on the face with the comment “perfect bodies of the terrific chorus dancers…”. Just because society says they have “perfect bodies” does not mean they do. Every single person has flaws. No one should have to read that. Also why the hell does it matter what some one looks like. I personally feel that the author of this review has no creditability after they made such a comment. I feel that the author had no intelligent things to say about the show and had to make this comment to make up for it. I am extremely enraged that in 2017 this is still happening.

Megan Jones said...

Body shaming is something that permeates through all areas of the entertainment industry, and theater is no exception to that. If you look at a typical Broadway stage you'll usually only see one or maybe two different body types, unless the role specifically calls for a plus-size actor. People will push their bodies to the extreme to try to conform to what can be an unobtainable body type, and sometimes this isn't even enough for the world surrounding them. I honestly believe that the author of the original article's intention was not to offend the actress, but they were merely using the same problematic language that we hear every day. However, no matter their intentions were there is a huge problem with both saying that curvier bodies aren't perfect and skinnier bodies aren't real. Every women regardless of her size has heard someone tell her what's wrong with her body on countless occasions, so it's disappointing that this review would reinforce this negative message.

Ali Whyte said...

I always cringe when I see the phrase "real women" in reference to anything else other than women as a collective. I think that the term is problematic for a number of reasons. One that especially irks me is that the dancers are placed outside of this category and into the "perfect bodies" section. They are real women too, not objects to be dressed up and sent out to be stared at; they have thoughts and feelings and talent too, and not just in their physicality, but their skills and abilities as well. It always troubles me when reviews comment on the bodies of the actors and not just their talent or the stage, and this is a prime example of why. Rarely does anything positive come from these remarks that could constructively help anyone involved on the show. I am all for comments on costuming in terms of construction or fit, but clothes can be made for nay body, so theoretically no body should have to change for the sake of clothes.

Helena Hewitt said...

The career I’ve chosen makes me think about my body more than I’d like, but it is in the context of not being good enough instead of not being pretty not: my body is a tool and sometimes it's just not tough enough, not strong enough, it won’t let me lift that goddamn whatever the thing of the day is. But I realize that the actors have a much more complicated relationship with their bodies and their career. Every single one of them is in enviable physical condition. And they work hard to keep it that way. The obvious example that springs to mind is when we did The Full Monty last year and had to make a fat suit for the character that was overweight because not a single one of our actors had that body type. And I’m not trying to say that this is just because CMU only lets in physically fit actors. But rather a problem with the culture of the acting world as a whole. Perhaps there are people that love acting but are always relegated to character parts so they give up on their dream of being the lead, or a young kid who doesn’t apply to theatre school because they don’t think they have the right look to get in. By having such a narrow definition of what is an acceptable body type for an actor, we are in danger of excluding talented artists just because they don’t have a “perfect body.”

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