As a parent, April Cochran knows how hard it is to talk to kids about the things that are going on in their lives. That’s why it surprised her when her 12-year-old daughter came up to her after a rehearsal at Market House Theatre one day and started talking about eating disorders.
“On the way home she was chatty and telling me about things she noticed in her school,” Cochran said. “It amazed me how young she is and how the problems are still there.”
Cochran is directing the Market House Theatre’s newest play “EAT,” a play addressing eating disorders and body image in teens and adults. The play features both adults and teenagers playing roles in vignettes which tell of all different problems relating to food and self confidence.
“One of the monologues I do is on a woman obsessed with mirrors,” Maria Miller, a Lone Oak high school student who is playing in the film, explained. “Every one can relate to that. We all have these little insecurities and hang-ups that harm the way we think about our bodies.”
Although the play is on a serious topic, not all of the shorts are of the serious nature. Some are satire, others humorous. Keeping the play light and giving communicating in different ways is all a part of its goal to make communication easier.
“There is so much to talk about,” Cochran said. “We address how parents affect their children, how sports and the media affect self image. It is a topic that really needs to be addressed.”
Among the actors featured with Miller are Paducah Tilghman students Chandler Smith, Jamie Hagood, Madison Whelan, Caitlyn Gallip and Cason Walden; Lone Oak High student Sarah Byassee, Marshall County High student Judd Cavitt; Heath High student Katelin Burchett; Lone Oak Middle students Shelbe Overby and Natalie Shadrick; Reidland Middle student Will Clark, and Metropolis Elementary student Sydney Skees.
“All of us realize the value of the show we are doing,” Miller explained. “And it’s pretty awesome to be able to work with your peers on a peer-related issue.”
Along with the more popular eating disorders, “EAT” discusses things that usually go on behind closed doors, including sports fasting, which is targeted more towards boys. After the play, the cast, along with a facilitator, will sit down with the audience for a discussion about pressures and eating disorders.
“There’s a huge focus on childhood obesity and bullying and a bunch of different issues,” Cochran said. “But we should be trying to talk with our kids and raise awareness. Our focus should be on being comfortable in our own bodies.”
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.