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The Most Massive Woman Wins and Women and Wallace

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The Most Massive Woman Wins and Women and Wallace, BackStage Theatre Company, at the Cornelia Arts Building. Madeleine George's sharp--if intermittently overzealous--antiobjectification, antisubjugation salvo The Most Massive Woman Wins takes a look at the war over body image, placing its central characters behind enemy lines in the waiting room of a liposuction clinic. Oddly, George sidesteps the very real health risks of morbid obesity, but it's hard to quibble with her earnest attempt to cut the handcuffs binding body image and identity. And if this production's climax is any indication, George's agenda hasn't yet infiltrated the mainstream--otherwise the four actresses here wouldn't look so uncomfortable standing onstage half naked.

In a strange but compelling juxtaposition, the BackStage Theatre Company pairs George's jagged one-act with an even blunter meditation on personal identity, Women and Wallace. Jonathan Marc Sherman--who wrote this oedipal exploration of women when he was only 18--obviously invested a lot of himself in his world-weary protagonist. Chris Genebach as Wallace carries the show on his able shoulders, making the script's difficult temporal leaps--the character rockets from second grade to college--look like child's play. But whereas George is all fiery intellect, Sherman is all battered heart--and the key to self-actualization probably lies somewhere in between.

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