Filler Up by Deb Filler and Lowry Marshall (Smouldering Masterpiece). See listings, page 100. Rating: NNNNN
Bake it and they will come. That's been the premise and part of the pleasure for Deb Filler in her one-woman, 27-character show Filler Up, which garnered strong reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe last month. On the surface about the daughter of a baker who's been stuffing herself with her father's leftovers, the work goes on to explore love of food and body image.
"I wanted to write a serious show about issues of addiction, filling up and finally letting go, whether it's smoking, drinking, working or fucking," says Filler, whose last solo piece, Punch Me In The Stomach, has played around the world. "I come from a long line of bakers and storytellers, so these two threads naturally come into this piece of theatre, even if what you see isn't fully autobiographical."
During the course of the show, which has been in development since 1997, Filler prepares and bakes a challah, a braided egg bread that's part of Jewish tradition. The smell of fresh bread infuses the theatre during the performance, and the audience gets to share the warm loaf at the end.
"The three braids of the challah symbolize father, mother and child, and it's appropriate that I share my story in this way with the audience. There's something about the warmth of sharing and communicating that defines a theatrical event. It's like the coming together of a community that goes to the bakery to get its bread, celebrating that simple need to eat and smell."