It took about a year, but Silver Spring writer Shelley Herman Gillon dropped 65 pounds. "It's great to not knock things over when getting up from my desk, great to breathe easily . . . great to not be cloaking myself with the kind of invisibility that obesity can cloak you with," she said.

What she says helped her: seeing a nutritionist, attending a support group . . . and writing a series of fictional monologues about body image and obesity in her new dark comedy "Bulletins From Fatland." She began the eight-character play to focus on the importance of weight loss and overall health, she said.

One of her creations is Marianne, the wife of 327-pound Abel. During a Paris vacation, an eating-related emergency sends Abel to the hospital. He seeks solace in a box of pastries. Marianne, in exasperation, leaves him.

Said Gillon, "I think the main thing people will come away with is . . . there are ways to take care of [your body], and there are ways to destroy it."

A free reading of "Fatland" will take place Sunday, Sept. 4, at 3 p.m. at the Kennedy Center (2700 F Street NW, south atrium), as part of the center's Page-to-Stage New Play Festival. Gillon will field questions after the reading. For more about the play, see For more on the festival, which features new plays by writers from the Washington area, see

-- Samantha Sordyl

In "Bulletins From Fatland," writer Shelley Herman Gillon emphasizes overall health.