Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Also see Tracy's review of The Syringa Tree
One only has to read the paper or watch the news to know that the struggle to lose weight is a nationwide problem. So many of us have been there. Dieting is hard enough but what does one do when both of their parents are bakers, and delicious treats are brought into the house on a daily basis? Deb Filler (along with Lowry Marshall) wrote a show about it. Filler Up!, performed by Deb Filler at MetroStage, is a one-woman show that explores the role food plays in our feelings and the feelings of others.
Ms. Filler performs the piece with immense energy, conveying what it was like growing up as a plump Jewish girl in New Zealand and then moving to America where she tries to make it as an actress. Along the way, she introduces the audience to a variety of characters that range from her indulgent mother to her activist girlfriend. Filler portrays each one with great skill. All the while, she talks about food. The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she expresses the importance bread has for her family, her numerous attempts at dieting and her aunt's fondness for Chinese takeout. All the while she bakes a loaf of challah right on stage. As she recounts her journeys, Filler occasionally breaks into song.
There are some extremely funny moments in this show; anyone who has ever battled with their weight will relate to many of Filler's stories. At times the piece is also quite moving. It has a great amount of potential but seems to fall a bit short in the end.
Irina Brown's direction works well and at times, the dialogue is right on the mark; other times it is corny. Additionally, the music is not well placed. There are some instances where it seems as if the music is an intrusion rather than a device to move the plot along.
However, you have to admire Filler's moxy. She gets up on that stage and emotionally bares herself. It is obvious she has found peace with her extra pounds and has embraced the food that is so much a part of who she is.
So, if you don't mind a little corn with your challah, take a trip to see this amusing little show. Filler Up! runs at MetroStage through March 7th.