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“Belly Laughs”

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Pratt, Judith S. (American playwright, actor/director, administrator, 1945-____), “Belly Laughs,”

a 30-minute fantastic comedy in English, minimal settings representing a clothing store, restaurant, and health club, 1996,


  •  © 1996 by Judith S. Pratt;  •  script available from http://barratry.law.cornell.edu:5123/judith/plays/Resume.htm#Judith; rights available from Judith S. Pratt, 542 Taylor Place, Ithaca, NY 4850, U.S.A., e-mail jsp4@cornell.edu, telephone (home) 607-273-2661.  •  Cited by Judith S. Pratt, via ftp , February 19, 2000; Pratt says,

 §  Dramatis Personae Alison (f), 25, slim, but clearly has to work at it; Paula (f), 25, naturally skinny; Char (f), 27, earnest; The Fat Lady (f), aka The Goddess her Very Large Self.

 §  Synopsis “The Fat Lady, a.k.a. The Goddess Her Very Large Self, helps Alison stop obsessing about her weight and get a life.  •  ‘Dress for Success’: On Saturday Alison and Paula try on clothes in a communal dressing room. They complain about their weight and discuss  dieting strategies.  The Fat Lady asks for advice about clothes.  Alison finds her strangely attractive, but Paula is totally grossed out and drags Alison away.  •  ‘A Lot on My Plate’: The next Wednesday at lunch, Alison and Char discuss the latest food and vitamin fads. The waitress is The Fat Lady, and she brings something gooey and yummy instead of the salad Alison ordered. Through TFL magic, Char thinks it’s a salad.  •  ‘Runner's High’: The next Friday, Alison is working out at the gym when The Fat Lady suddenly appears in her full Goddess getup. Compelled by the Goddess-whammy, Alison admits that she obsesses about every bite she eats and spends all her free time at the gym. The Fat Lady notes that despite this Alison does not (yet) have an eating disorder, and suggests she get a life. They talk about these issues. Through another whammy, Alison is suddenly full of plans to volunteer, to take sailing lessons and to eat a big bowl of spaghetti carbonara. She charges off, leaving Paula bewildered and The Fat Lady full of satisfaction.

 §  CommentChar is pronounced Shar, as in Charmaine. The play needs an actress who believably has the power and magnetism of The Goddess.  And please use a ‘woman of size,’ that is, a true fat lady. Three scenes: a discount clothing store, a restaurant where office workers lunch, and a health club.  These can be very simply indicated—a rolling clothing rack, a table and chair, an exercise mat. The show does require food—a vegetarian burger and something fatty with French fries. Local restaurants will often donate this.  •  ‘Belly Laughs’ received an Honorable Mention in the 1997-98 Great Ithaca Play Contest, sponsored by the Kitchen Theatre,  Ithaca, New York, U.S.A. A workshop production of ‘Belly Laughs’ premiered at the Kitchen Theatre in April, 1998.”

  §  Themes dieting, eating disorder, fantasy, weight loss, sisterhood.

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Page mounted February 21, 2000, updated March 3, 2000, by the site Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


the more-extensive print volumes
1/2/3/4 for the Show: A Guide to Small-Cast One-Act Plays, Vols. 1 and 2
  (Lanham, Maryland, U.S.A.; Folkestone, Kent, U.K.: Scarecrow Press, 1995, 1999),
vol. 1 [1995] ISBN 0-8108-2985-1, vol. 2 [1999] ISBN 0-8108-3600-9

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