Taylor Olson has come a long way. Olson had gained 100 pounds, and in just six months, he lost it all. His play, Heavy, is about that and so much more.
“I hope the message (people take) is that it wasn’t about me losing weight or looking good; it was about finding that love for myself,” he says.
Originally from British Columbia, Olson has been working in the Halifax theatre and film industry since graduating from Dalhousie University in 2014.
He says that the experiences of women and body image are arguably more important to speak about publicly, but saw a need for Heavy in male circles, as well.
“I think guys tend to, especially around sports culture and toxic masculinity, not admit their own vulnerability in how they view their bodies,” he said in an earlier radio interview. “My initial hope is that some people relate to it, and maybe it helps them understand where they‘re at in their own journey by sharing my journey.”
The first version of Heavy was written in a matter of days, while Olson was acting at Festival Antigonish. It premiered at the Atlantic Fringe Festival in September. Since then, Olson has brought on theatre artist Sansom Marchand to help refine the script and direct a more polished production.
His and Marchand’s goal was to eliminate unconscious fatphobia in the script while maintaining its story. Olson says that he wants to see “all bodies as beautiful.” But that can be difficult “while looking in the mirror yourself and thinking hateful things about yourself, like ‘you’re beautiful; you’re beautiful, but I’m not,'” he said earlier in the week.
Olson’s motivation for weight loss is much more than the desire to look good. He’s thinking of his future, and that of his three-year-old daughter.
“There’s a dual motivation,” he said earlier. “There’s one that’s like, ‘I don’t like the way I look, I don’t feel like this is me, I’m going to change that,’ but then there’s the second that’s like, ‘I’m going to change my health for my kid because I’m going to be here for my kid.’ It’s huge.”
Heavy is Olson’s story — a story not simply about losing weight, but a story about learning to love yourself.
Lara Lewis also spoke to Olson for her CKDU 88.1 FM show, “Backstage Banter.” Check out the full interview on Soundcloud to learn more.
Heavy is at the Bus Stop Theatre until February 5th.