Friday through Oct. 28, Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, 3655 Church Rd., Ellicott City.
(Fat) suiting up
In “The Government Inspector” at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Rick Foucheux plays the mayor. Which means he is wearing a fat suit.
“The mayor is just a pompous, blustery old guy,” Foucheux said. He “thinks he owns the world and gets by just on his ability to bribe and be bribed,” and his gluttonous personality is embodied by his gluttonous physique.
“I think his corpulence comes from his greed,” Foucheux said. “It’s representative of his greed and his avarice. He wears his excess all over. . . . I supposed it contributes to a total picture of this guy who is out of control in just satisfying his own needs and wants.”
The fat suit adds 20 inches to Foucheux’s waist; two other actors wear the suits, as well. First question: Isn’t it really hot?
Foucheux described the allowances made to prevent actors from overheating. For instance, his shirt sleeves are sewn into his jacket so that all Foucheux has to wear beneath the suit is a T-shirt. “I sweat a bit,” he allowed. “But I always sweat onstage. It isn’t as bad as some fat suits I’ve worn.”
The honor (or disgrace?) of Worst Fat Suit Experience goes to Foucheux’s stint as Saunders in “Lend Me a Tenor.” “That was in the middle of the summer down in Virginia, and the fat suit was a bit more all over the body than this one is. And that was murder.”
Though the suit makes him look extremely heavy, it is actually light. It’s cotton stuffing sewn into a T-shirt, in reality more fluffy than fatty.
“The costumes are clownish, and that contributes to our acting,” said Foucheux — right down to the way he walks, leading with his Santa-size stomach and not his feet. “It sort of adds to the pomposity of this guy.”
Foucheux, whose father was a small-town barber, spent his childhood listening to his dad “go on and on about these ‘mealy-mouthed politicians,’ ” so the uglier side of bureaucracy is nothing new. “I grew up aware of the vagaries of local politics, and how interesting they can be,” he said. “Whoever said that a little power is a dangerous thing, they were right.”
Through Nov. 4, Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW. shakespearetheatre.org. 202-547-1122.