- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fat isn’t a four-letter word, but it might as well be in Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig, which confronts our attitudes toward weight and appearance with blistering honesty and wit at the Studio Theatre. As a smart, appealing, plus-size woman gets the guy — a buff, successful executive — and gets steamy boudoir scenes as well, Mr. LaBute holds up the cliches “love is blind” and “looks aren’t everything” to almost unbearable scrutiny. His characters say things you’ve thought but never had the nerve to utter. Nothing is taboo and there is no such thing as political correctness or hypersensitivity. And under the disgusted, ruthless gazes of the toned hero’s friends, this love doesn’t stand a chance. In Mr. LaBute’s world, we are most alive when we are at our worst. Through Feb. 12. 202/332-3300.

— Jayne Blanchard

Through more than 100 objects, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s BIG/small exhibit handsomely shows the crucial role of size and scale. A very large piece such as a nearly 9-foot-long canoe model communicates its owner’s importance and the availability of wood, while tiny weights the Akan people used to weigh gold dust reflect gold’s scarcity in this family-oriented exhibition. 950 Independence Avenue SW. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily through July 9. Free. 202/633-4600 and africa.si.edu.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle

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