In opening his initial entry in the Kansas City Fringe Festival, new to the city actor, Tony Sloan, faces his past demons, presenting his audience with his (and hopefully their) pathway to success, confidence, and composure “In Just My Underwear,” a self-exploration of his 23 years and his positive movement forward.
Sloan unfurls the pain of being first, a sickly child, a child with conflicting socialization and medical issues that kept him from Kindergarten, and a school life as “The Fat Kid” who never quite fits in. It’s a situation many face yet bury under their layers of fat to guard themselves against the cruel (yet unintentional) slings and arrows from friends and teachers.
Sloan releases a ton of funny and difficult stories as the lays almost bare the walls and barriers that helped lead him up to and through an over 300 pound existence to the smaller life he now leads. He tells the “Oprah” story, but from his standpoint. Like Oprah, he has fought weight and his addiction to food. His success story continues to be a work in progress–as does Oprah’s.
Funny and painful stories fill the show that contains several different parts as he works his way through the self-penned piece. Between each segment is a body-movement piece that focuses on his body and the marvel of a human body. It’s quite unique how he segues through his piece.
Being clad only in jockey briefs (no not tighty-whities) he bared all–standing naked in front of his audience–recanting his story with humor, charm, and pain. The audience will feel the pain and heartbreak even though the revelazation is about
the solution and his path. With Sloan’s piece others may find the first building block toward their path to escape their personal demons through perseverance and exposure.
“The human body is an amazing thing. However, sometimes we don’t always view it as such. Follow theatre artist, Tony Sloan, as he discusses body image, diet, exercise culture, and confidence through the scope of his own 100+ pound weight loss during this one-man exhibition. Oh… and by the way, he isn’t wearing any pants.” (KCFringe.org)
Tony touches on several aspects of his life as he unfurls his personal confrontation with body image, food, diet, and sexual orientation. He touches briefly on some medical and mental
issues that come with obesity. Sloan presents the idea that “It can get better” as he refrains from preaching, but tells his story nearly naked and exposed to announce: Honor your body and your life. You can take control. You can do it. You are your own master.
Sloan’s story if painful, yet funny. Audiences will fine pieces of themselves in his presentation and will find answers to personal problems then confronted or need to confront or even validation for the successes they have achieved.
The piece remains in infancy but some polish could make this a theatre piece that presents a positive path for others. Sloan did a great job in his first solo presentation. The piece comes with high recommendations for your Fringe Festival.
Tags: “In Just My Underwear” review, KC Fringe Festival, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre