Press

November 2, 2017

Writer/director John Stimpson has wrapped work on the made-in-Massachusetts indie film “Ghost Light.” The dark comedy starring veteran stage performer Roger Bart, “Princess Bride” star Cary Elwes, Scott Adsit, Carol Kane, and Shannyn Sossamon is being produced by Stimpson, Geoffrey Taylor, Worcester-based H9 Films, and New England Studios. The movie also includes local actors Ken Cheeseman, Caroline Portu, Liliane Klein, Zele Avradopoulos, and Maureen Keiller.

May 4, 2013

NextDoor Theatre sings from Legally Blonde live on WERS 88.9 Radio Boston. 

 

Hear Liliane Klein sing "Ireland" as Paulette by clicking on this link

February 18, 2013

The play stars Liliane Klein as Maureen and Buzz Roddy as Joe.

“Although very contemporary and set in Queens, the play is reminiscent of the golden age of feel good theater,” Klein said. “What makes the play so great is that the couple you are rooting for is not the normal ingénue couple. Maureen is not so confident in herself and is very concerned about her weight as a plus-sized woman, who at the same time is beautiful both inside and out. She finally discovers that beauty over the course of the play through family and friends and this guy who is every bit the match for her.” she added about the two soul mates.

Klein, who resides in Cambridge, said she can relate to the characters in the play because she, too, is a plus-sized woman who also just happens to have a sister who is different physically from her.

“In the play I attempt to draw on my relationship with my sister, although she is nothing like Sheila in the play. And, I’ve known heartbreak and have gone through many frogs to get to my prince,” said Klein, who is also a singer and model who has performed in over 40 states and some 10 countries. 

July 10, 2012

For Liliane Klein, this year offers her a chance to take on the role she has always dreamed of playing.

"This has been on my list for a while," she said of her desire to portray the nurse in one of Shakespeare's most well-known tales.

"She has so much pep and vigor," Klein said of the character, who serves as a confidant, friend and counsel to her charge, Juliet, as well as a liaison between the ill-fated lovers. "I love that about her. She is just this lover of life."

Klein, who lives in Cambridge, Mass., is returning for her seventh summer with the group. She is one of a number of cast members who keep coming back each year.

October 24, 2009

Liliane Klein says people usually have a strong reaction when she tells them what play she is starring in.

“The title is so aggressive,” she said. “I say it’s called Fat Pig, and it’s kind of off putting.”

Klein plays the title role of Helen in Neil LaBute’s controversial play, about a conventionally handsome man who falls for a funny, smart, not-skinny woman. Klein already played Helen in Boston, and she says she’s delighted to get to recreate it here. She was working with Connecticut Free Shakespeare when she heard the Aurora Theatre Company was doing the play, so she wasn’t able to come out to audition, but she sent in a video demo reel and got the part.

“I just felt like I wasn’t finished with it,” she said about the role. “It’s such an incredible journey to take to go from being complete strangers to falling in love to having your heart broken. It’s rare that roles in contemporary plays are this good. In rehearsals, we keep comparing her to Joan of Arc. It’s this intense tragedy on a more contemporary scale.”

LaBute’s plays are controversial, and he has been called misogynistic. But Klein doesn’t find that in this play.

“One of his themes is dissecting the cruelty of humans to one another,” she said. “It’s what theater is there for-- to hold a mirror up to nature. It’s only if we see what we are actually capable of that we can change. The more that I explore this role, the less misogynistic it seems to me. I feel like he wrote this character out of love. Helen is based on himself and his battles with weight.”

Klein says the play explores body image and the question of what’s beautiful and what’s ugly.

“Many people would consider Helen the most beautiful person in the play even though she is the fat pig of the title,” she said. “Body image affects everyone all in all different ways. Like some people say music is the universal language, I feel like food is the universal language. Every single person on the planet has a relationship with food.”

Talk2SV

by Sandra Varner, Globe Newspapers

Aurora Theatre Company continues its 18th season with “Fat Pig,” playwright Neil LaBute’s exploration of body consciousness in contemporary America. Tony-nominated director Barbara Damashek (Quilters) directs. The cast members are: Liliane Klein, Jud Williford, Alexendra Creighton, and Peter Ruocco,

“Fat Pig” runs through December 6 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley, 2081 Addison Street. For tickets and information call (510) 843-4822 or visit auroratheatre.org. Shows: Tuesdays at 7pm; Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm and 7pm, (No performance Thursday, November 26)

Cow. Slob. Pig. Size does matter. In FAT PIG, conventionally good-looking Tom falls for Helen, a bright, funny, sexy woman, who happens to be plus-sized. Forced to explain his new relationship to his perplexed friends, Tom must come to terms with his own preconceived notions of love and attraction. Premiering at the Lucille Lortel Theater in 2004, this alternately funny and poignant play, called “emotionally engaging” by The New York Times, and full of what The Washington Post describes as “Labute’s lacerating humor,” not only critiques our adherence to Hollywood ’s standards of beauty, but questions our ability to change what we dislike about ourselves.

New York actress Liliane Klein makes her Aurora debut as Helen in FAT PIG. Klein’s credits include the North American tour of Titanic, productions at Lincoln Center, and several Off-Broadway productions (La Mama E.T.C., Musicals Tonight!, among others), and SpeakEasy Stage/Boston Center for the Arts (Fat Pig). Screen credits include roles on IFC’s Z-Rock, ABC’s Ugly Betty, and PBS.

Neil LaBute is a playwright, screenwriter, and film director who has been both praised and criticized for his edgy and unsettling portrayals of human relationships. He studied theater at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and produced a number of plays that pushed the envelope of what was acceptable at the conservative religious university; he also met actor Aaron Eckhart, who would later play leading roles in several of his films. LaBute’s works for the stage include: In the Company of Men (1992); The Shape of Things (2001); Some Girl(s); (2005); reasons to be pretty (2008/2009) was LaBute’s first ever Broadway production; it was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Leading Actor in a Play, and Best Featured Actress in a Play.

LaBute’s film credits include In the Company of Men (1997); Nurse Betty (2000); Possession (2002); The Shape of Things (2003); The Wicker Man (2006); Lakeview Terrace (2008); and Death at a Funeral (forthcoming in 2010).

I spoke to the Liliane Klein about her exceptional performance in this play that holds up the mirror to our views on body image and other revealing self-reflections.

Sandra Varner (Talk2SV): I thought your performance was tremendous.

Klein: Oh, thank you.

Talk2SV: There are aspects of this play that force you hold the mirror up to many things that we question, not only about ourselves but also about society and why things are the way they are: opinions, and so on. What kind of emotional, intellectual, and psychological prep did you feel you do for this role, if any?

Klein: That is such a good question; I’ve never been asked that before. You know, I’m not sure that I consciously did any. This is the second time that I’ve done the show and the first time that I did it was in Boston. There was a lot of different preparation then --questioning what were my similarities to Helen and what were my differences from her. I had a sense of what those similarities were from the first time around such as the way that I handle situations from the way ‘Helen’ handled situations aren’t so different. Oddly enough, I came into this process thinking a lot about that because I felt like I had changed since I did it the last time. I’m older, I’ve had two years more of life experience --different relationship experiences and stuff like that. All of it has helped to feed the sense of preparation that’s just natural preparation. And, I actually found that this time around, I had even more differences personally from Helen than the first time I did it. I was able to pinpoint them.

Talk2SV: This story is the painful truth for many of us. So, you don’t really escape anything. It’s as if you’re holding a mirror up to things that one has to deal with; that makes it a unique experience just based on the nature of the play.

Klein: Yeah, I can understand that and I think that’s part of the reason why the play is so provocative is that it kind of doesn’t let you escape from anything. But I think that in many ways it’s also more cathartic because people are really moved by this play one way or the other. I mean there are people who come to see it who love it and there are people who come to see it who hate it. The reason that they hate it is not because they think it is a bad play or that they think the acting is bad, they hate it because it enrages them so much. I mean, how rare is that these days that we find anything that can enrage us. We are such an apathetic society. Our generation, that is. With the media’s coverage of violence always shown and people are using profanities more and more. The fact that anything can kind of shake us and stir us and make us say, ‘wait, wait, I know but … no, you know!’ I think that’s exactly what this play strives to do. The story is a reality for so many people, but it’s a heightened reality in the play and that’s the point.

Talk2SV: I appreciated the sensuality between the lead characters and that they became familiar with each other beyond what was obviously an intellectual connection. The caressing, embracing and intimate touching between them; were you inhibited in any way by being that open in front of people?

Klein: No, oddly enough, thanks to Jud. It’s really just acting. We both have our own lives and our own relationships and it’s not some dramatic big thing like we’re letting ourselves go. It’s just what the play calls for at the time and generally, one of the reasons why I have been able to do this role is because I’m pretty comfortable with my body which is one of my similarities to Helen so I’ve never really felt ashamed. Actually, sometimes, and I don’t know if this is something that all plus size people feel, but sometimes I’m surprised when I see a picture and I look bigger than I felt, you know?

Talk2SV: Yes, I understand that, very much so.

Klein: Because I don’t like walk around thinking, ‘Oh I’m fat.’

Talk2SV: Yeah, you’re thinking, "I’m just me." 

 

March 16, 2007

 

 

Actress embraces her plus-size role

Like her character in Neil LaBute's "Fat Pig," actress Liliane Klein gains confidence from not letting weight get in her way. If everything you heard about thinness being all-important in show business were true, she wouldn't get work. She's starring in Neil LaBute's new play, "Fat Pig," which premieres Friday.

 

 Calendar: 'Fat Pig' showtimes  More local performing arts  Exhibitionist: The Globe's Geoff Edgers covers the arts
 

Liliane Klein (above) says Helen, her character in "Fat Pig," is "the only person [in the play] who's beautiful inside and out." (Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff)

 

.. 'If I can do it at this size, I can do it at any size' Boston Globe 

If everything you heard about thinness being all-important in show business were true, Liliane Klein wouldn't get work.

But this plus-size actress does. And right now she's starring in a dynamite role that could be played only by someone her size: Helen in Neil LaBute's "Fat Pig." SpeakEasy Stage Company is presenting the play's New England premiere, starting tonight at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Helen is smart, sexy, and confident enough to make light of her own weight. So it's not that surprising when a hunky businessman named Tom becomes infatuated. But all doesn't go smoothly in their relationship.

The 26-year-old Klein, who spoke before a recent rehearsal, loves this role.

"Helen has an incredible journey," says the Boston University graduate. "She's the only person [in the play] who's beautiful inside and out. It's interesting that she's the 'Fat Pig,' which is such an ugly, provocative title. I think it was a conscious decision to have the title be such a contrast to who she is."

Klein is carefully made up and dressed stylishly in black pants, red sweater, and white shirt. She's relaxed and laughs often. Like Helen, she can poke fun at herself. She declines to say how much she weighs, but admits to an 18-20 dress size and says, grinning, "I am heavier than anyone in the play, including the 6-foot-4 leading man."

She and her character share similar painful school memories, she says. Growing up overweight in Great Neck, Long Island, she had tough moments in elementary school, like when a boy at lunch said to her, a la Bart Simpson, "Don't have a cow, man."

"The way he was saying it, it was 'You're a cow,' " she recalls.

But Klein gracefully steers every conversation about her weight back into positive waters. "Everyone is made fun of as a child," she says. "That's one of the things Helen says" -- breaking into a line from the play -- 'lt's all shame when you're younger, isn't it? You hate how you look or sound or, you know, all that stuff that we go through as kids. But I'm pretty all right with who I am now. The trick is getting other people to be OK with it!' "

Klein says she is OK with her weight after years of battling it through diets, weight-loss camps, and pressure from her parents and doctors. And she hasn't let it get in the way. In high school, when she was 30 to 40 pounds heavier, she tried out for the football and basketball pep squad .

"The entire kick line was Barbie girls," she recalls. "I tried out and didn't make it the first year. But I did the next years. I was a high kicker, and I had pride that I looked like I did and got in."

Helen, she says, has a similar philosophy: "If I can do it at this size, hell, honey, I can do it at any size! That's one of the reasons she's so confident. She's learned through her life to find strength to do anything in spite of her size. She can do anything she wants to do, including date this totally hot guy."

But Helen's bulldozing-your-way-through-

"This is the first time she's fallen in love," Klein explains, "and the wonderful journey that she goes through is letting her guard down."

Tom, however ardent and caring when the two are alone, is reluctant to be seen with her in public. She notices; he denies. His ambivalence is stoked by two co-workers, Carter and Jeannie, who pitilessly tear her down when they corner him in his office. And if you know other plays and movies by writer/director LaBute, like "In the Company of Men, " you know he writes extremely well about men's cruelty to women. In "Fat Pig" he adds Jeannie, who is also Tom's former lover, to double the torment.

"I wrote it as a study in weakness," LaBute says by phone from his home in Los Angeles, "about a man trying to juggle two worlds. It resonates beyond the weight issue; it's symbolic of anyone who's been in a situation where they couldn't be completely honest."

In the preface to the play, LaBute states that he wrote it after struggling with his own dieting challenges.

"This remains one of the last prejudices that is largely accepted," he says by phone. "People always feel it's fair game to ridicule fat people, because they feel if you really wanted to, you could stop eating so much."

While Helen is vibrant and strong, LaBute didn't make her invincible. "Some of that self-security and self- deprecation really does mask a certain kind of insecurity," he says. "She's always quick to make the joke and point out that everything is OK. I think the saddest moment is when she says, 'I will change for you.' Tom doesn't deserve it."

"Fat Pig" had its world premiere in 2004 in New York City. In this production, directed by SpeakEasy general manager Paul Melone , Klein has some terrific costars: James Ryen plays Tom, the Elliot Norton Award-winning Laura Latreille plays Jeannie, and New York actor Michael Daniel Anderson is Carter.

Klein, who's been involved with theater since she was a child, says that her big commitment to it came when she watched her sister in a school production of "A Chorus Line." Klein wasn't allowed to be in it -- partly because her dance teacher didn't want her up there in a unitard, for her own sake -- but seeing the show became a life-changing experience.

While still in high school, she participated in several high-profile summer drama programs. She did a stint at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and graduated from BU in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in acting. Since then she's worked around the country, performing in the national tour of "Titanic" and acting at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York and in "Les Miserables" at Walt Disney World.

Klein says she's definitely lost roles because of her weight, something that has been frustrating.

"Part of me wishes I had listened to my parents when I was younger and wasn't so rebellious," she muses. "Then I probably wouldn't be the size I am. However, if I wasn't the size I am today, I wouldn't have the incredible experiences I've had. But it's not something I'm grappling with, nor have I decided to stay this size forever."

She attributes her acting success to her drive: "I always have been an overachiever, somebody who wants to prove something."

A photographer arrives and Klein picks up a twirly dress and strappy heels she's brought to change into. She adds, fervently. "I never want to leave this role. It's great!"

Catherine Foster can be reached at foster@globe.com.  

 

 

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WBUR Radio Interview with Liliane Klein and Neil Labute

March 26, 2007

Playwright and filmmaker Neil LaBute has been called a misogynist and a misanthrope, but also a master at dramatizing how cruel people can be. 

While the title of his play that's just opened in Boston, "Fat Pig", is ugly, the play is actually a love story about an average guy who falls for a plus-sized woman. 

WBUR's Andrea Shea has more.

TEXT OF STORY 

SHEA: As a writer Neil LaBute comes off as part Edward Albee, part P.T. Barnum, part Marquis de Sade. On stage and film he pits friends, co-workers and lovers against one another. 

Vile behavior and nasty words are weapons. The title of the LaBute play premiering at the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End accosts passersby who see it on the marquee. 

VOX POP: 'I'm just shocked. Fat Pig!' 'It's either about a fat pig or a person who's a fat pig.' ''Fat Pig' you instantly think of a guy's opinion on a girl, that's what you think.' 

SHEA: Inside the theater 'Fat Pig' lead actress Liliane Klein wants to set the record straight.

KLEIN: This isn't a play about being grotesquely obese, this is a play about a plus size woman who is very healthy, who is beautiful and energetic and smart and she is the antithesis of the title in many ways. 

SHEA: Klein plays Helen, a witty librarian with a taste for war flicks. 

Helen captures a good-looking businessman's heart in the first scene. His name is Tom. 

Tom and Helen 'meet cute' in a crowded cafeteria and sparks fly. Soon they're dating.

SCENE FROM PLAY: 'And have you always been you know. What" Big Boned? (she laughs) Oh that was kind of precious. My mom used to throw that one around too. Well, I'm just trying to be. Don't. Not for me. I want you to be truthful with me.' 

SHEA: As it turns out honesty isn't Tom's strong suit. But still, his relationship with Helen intensifies. Again, actress Liliane Klein. 

KLEIN: What really attracted me to her was really just how meaty the role was.' It's so rare for a character actress, which is what I am, to first of all get a dramatic role. 

People see a plus-sized woman and assume, 'oh, she's a comedian.

SHEA: Klein is 5-feet 9 inches tall and about 240 pounds. She says she gets a lot of work, but usually plays.

KLEIN: Older mother characters, supporting characters, funny sidekicks, maids, stuff like that.

PAUL MALONE: It's an industry, let's face it, that's based a lot on appearance. 

SHEA: That's 'Fat Pig' Director Paul Malone. Malone says Klein uses her size, beauty and confidence to full effect in the play. 

Writer Neil LaBute is notorious for putting his characters through emotional hell. In 'Fat Pig' though, Malone says Helen and Tom display a tenderness not often seen in LaBute's work.

MALONE: Usually relationships are sort of a battle ground, they're places where men and women sort of fight out for control for agendas, for anything but the connection between the 2 people and in this play the connection in many senses is the goal. 

SHEA: Neil LaBute says Malone isn't the first to make that observation since this play premiered off-Broadway in 2004.

LABUTE: When Fat Pig arrived on the scene it marked for a lot of critics a kind of softer, warmer glow around some of the characters and they felt that there was more compassion there was more...um, gosh, I can barely choke down the word, more humanity (laughs) in it then some of the other plays I had written. 

SHEA: LaBute admits that might be because there's more of himself in 'Fat Pig.'

LABUTE: I certainly have gone up and down in weight myself and yet feel pretty adjusted as a person and who I am and all of that. 

SHEA: In the play Helen echoes that sentiment. And while she says she's ok with her body, Tom's co-workers react viciously when they learn about his new girlfriend's girth. Especially a brute named Carter. 

SCENE FROM PLAY: 'Dude, this is not her. This is not the her her, is it? Yes Carter. Oh my god! Oh my god! (laughs) I mean, oh my god.'

SHEA: Boston Pheonix Theater Critic Carolyn Clay notes the relentless brutality, but says on stage it serves a purpose. 

CLAY: What Neil Labute is doing is making comments first of all about the individual and his inability to go with his own instincts and not to cave to social pressure. 

And he's writing a play also about the really mean, dismissive way people are treated on the basis of their looks and in this case on the basis of weight and I don't think anybody realistically behaves as badly as Tom's office co-workers do. 

SCENE FROM PLAY: 'She makes me happy and I want to make her happy, too. I'm not saying she can't be happy, that she shouldn't meet somebody, but it ought to be a fat somebody or a bald one, whatever. Like her. A somebody that fits her.'

SHEA: After a recent performance an audience member who describes herself as 'chunky' reacts to 'Fat Pig.'

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I thought the title was wonderful, I grew up with my brother calling me fat pig, and when you're struggling with your weight and trying to be pretty and all the other good American beauty stuff it's a horrible thing to be called, but fat girls are called fat pig. 

Fat boys are called fat pig, too, but I think girls are more.

SHEA: Actress Liliane Klein thinks the play raises some big questions about the prejudice against plus-size people in this country. Weight, as an issue, she says, is very different than gender or race.

KLEIN: Being fat is the one thing that is technically a choice, but then again is it? Because if it was a choice would people choose to be fat, does anybody choose to be fat? Do I choose to be fat? 

And the answer is no, not really. Or the question is 'well then why don't you just change that? I don't know what the right answers are and I think that's why it's such a touchy subject and such an issue and really one of the few remaining big taboo things.

SHEA: And so Neil LaBute's 'Fat Pig' serves up food for thought, even if the meal - harsh language and all - is tough to swallow. 

For WBUR, I'm Andrea Shea.

HOST TAG:
The Speakeasy Stage Company production of "Fat Pig" is at the Boston Center for the Arts through April 7th.

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