'Fat suit' inappropriate in school play, Regina mom says

A Regina family says a recent high school musical discriminates against people who are overweight.
'Fat suit' in school play inappropriate, Regina mom says 1:05

A Regina family says a recent high school musical discriminates against people who are overweight.

The musical is Hairspray, which features a self-described "pleasantly plump" character who seeks stardom as a dancer on a local TV show while she fights racial discrimination.

It was performed by students at Campbell Collegiate.

The 1988 film version of Hairpray starred, from left: Colleen Fitzpatrick, Debbie Harry, Divine and Ricki Lake, who played the self-proclaimed 'pleasantly plump' Tracy Turnblad. ((New Line Cinema/Getty Images) )

Tricia Leis's daughter Morgan Leis tried out for the lead role and didn't get the part.

Tricia says she was not upset about that, but she's bothered that one of the women who was chosen had to wear extra padding.

Casting a thin woman and putting her in a "fat suit" misses the story's point about size discrimination, she says.

"We'd heard a rumour about a fat suit, but we thought it couldn't possibly really be true that they'd do this," she said.

"We kept trying to say that if you put a thin child into a fat suit, it's just as offensive as putting a white child in black face."

Tricia Leis says the school system is setting a poor example when it uses fat suits in school plays. (CBC)

Leis says the school should have issued a disclaimer about the fat suit in its program for the show.

A spokesman with the Regina Public Schools says there was no intended disrespect.

"It's a high school musical. There's a limited amount of talent in that particular school community, which is Campbell Collegiate, and they did the best they could do in finding the best possible person for the role," school board spokesman Terry Lazarou said.

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