Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Maggi Phillips

Second Supervisor

Associate Professor Andrew Lewis


This research project examines the misreading of satire in some productions of Neil LaBute’s play, Fat Pig. This practice led project aims to investigate why such misinterpretations occur and explore the theatrical styles that emphasise the satire in the text via rehearsal processes and production.

There will be three preliminary paths undertaken in this research heading toward a new production of Fat Pig; an exploration of the responses of audiences and critics to past productions; an analysis of the background to Neil LeBute and his work; and an examination of theatrical expressions of satire, experimental theatre, contemporary theatre, and their practitioners. The overall aim of this research project is to find ways, as a director, to experiment with theatrical styles as a means to expand the play’s complex issues and ironic take on society’s narrow view of female beauty. This study will explore the following questions: what is the correlation between staging and design (the director’s influence and how an audience interprets meaning; and what forms of theatrical expression will highlight and emphasise the satire and irony present in the text? In what ways can critical reviews and feedback from previous productions indicate the understanding (or lack of understanding) of the ironic content in the script? Can situating LaBute in the context of his satiric writing style that straddles literary elements from opposing absurd and realism genres shed light on how irony can be exposed in Fat Pig?

The project’s new production aims to underscore the play’s social commentaries by combining various forms of theatrical styles, philosophies, and methodologies. I wish to extend my directorial practice by investigating strategies to emphasis and highlight what I see as the underlying focus of Fat Pig; society’s discriminating behaviour to those who sit outside mainstream ideas of physical beauty