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The Beauty Plays by Neil LaBute

Jun 23, 2011 - Jul 17, 2011

THE BEAUTY PLAYS IN REPERTORY:

REASONS TO BE PRETTY / FAT PIG / THE SHAPE OF THINGS

By Neil LaBute

ABOUT THE BEAUTY PLAY SERIES
A unique, must-see theatre event that is guaranteed to start a conversation. Three The Shape of Things, Fat Pig and Reasons to be Pretty – plays in repertory by one of the most important new voices in American theatre. The New Yorker calls Neil LaBute “the best new playwright to emerge in the past decade … a genius.”
Together, they deal with the complexities of romantic relationships, sexual politics and physical appearance. Comprising a trilogy of plays linked by theme, though without recurring characters or a connected plot, the plays each reflect on their common themes in unique and distinctive ways. Though each play has had immensely successful productions in New York and London, the three plays have never been performed in a three-week repertory format.

 

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REASONS TO BE PRETTY
By Neil LaBute
Iowa Premiere

DATES June 23-July 17, 2011, as part of The Beauty Trilogy Play Series
TIMES Wed-Sat at 7:30 p.m., Sun at 3 p.m.

Tony and Drama Desk Award Nominee – Best Play
Top Ten Plays of the Year –Time and Associated Press
Reasons to be Pretty PosterA love story about the impossibility of love. Do we ever really know what our partner thinks of us? Reasons to be Pretty confronts America’s obsession with physical beauty headlong when Greg, a working-class guy in a long-term relationship, inadvertently remarks to a friend that, compared to a pretty coworker, his girlfriend is “regular.” This off-hand statement, a slip-of-the-tongue, begins a downward spiral as the characters begin to experience insecurities in their own lives. Is anyone ever totally comfortable in their own skin?

“Mr LaBute is writing some of the freshest and most illuminating dialogue to be heard anywhere these days.” –New York Times
“It is tight, tense and emotionally true, and it portrays characters who actually seem part of the world that the rest of us live in.” Time

 

SPECIFIC SHOW DATES
Thursday, June 23 – Reasons To Be Pretty 7:30
Friday, June 24 – Reasons To Be Pretty 7:30
Saturday, June 25 – Reasons To Be Pretty 7:30
Sunday, June 26 – Reasons To Be Pretty 3:00
one week off to celebrate Independence Day
Wednesday, July 6 – The Shape of Things 7:30 (opening)
Thursday, July 7 – Reasons To Be Pretty 7:30
Friday, July 8 – Fat Pig 7:30 (opening)
Saturday, July 9 – Reasons To Be Pretty 4:00 (note: special time)
Saturday, July 9 – The Shape of Things 7:30
Sunday, July 10 – Fat Pig 3:00
Wednesday, July 13 – Fat Pig 7:30
Thursday, July 14 – The Shape of Things 7:30
Friday, July 15 – Fat Pig 7:30
Saturday, July 16 – The Shape of Things 4:00 (note: special time)
Saturday, July 16 – Fat Pig 7:30
Sunday, July 17 – The Shape of Things 3:00

CAST – REASONS TO BE PRETTY
Greg – Caleb Woodley
Steph – Sarah Hinzman
Kent – Paul Valleau
Carly – Susan Lynn

PRODUCTION TEAM – REASONS TO BE PRETTY
Director – Todd Buchacker
Stage Manager – Rachael Rhoades
Scenic Designer – Jay Jagim
Lighting Designer – Jim Trenberth
Costume Designer – Emily Ganfield
Hair/Wig/Make-up Designer – Cindy Hummel
Sound Designer – Josh Jepson
Dramaturge – Nancy Evans

 

REVIEW:
‘PRETTY’ PRETTY GOOD, VISCERAL
By John Busbee for theculturebuzz.com
StageWest again treats Iowa audiences to national-level firsts (or, at least, seconds) by presenting a trio of Neil LaBute’s plays in repertory. Dallas was the first market to do so; Des Moines is the second. And, lest anyone think that they must take in the entire body of this venture, all three plays, to fully understand each one, quickly dispel that notion. Each production is a stand-alone play, and can be fully appreciated in its own right. Many savvy theatre-goers in this area, however, are savoring the opportunity to experience and compare all three of these works, “Reasons to Be Pretty,” “The Shape of Things,” and “Fat Pig.”
The first level of appreciation lays in the shear logistics of such an undertaking. Layering three distinctively different plays, with three directors and three casts, plus crew, on one stage setting, is challenging. StageWest’s intrepid creative collective rises to the challenge, and seems to be making this work. This will be fully revealed after seeing the second and third installments of this repertory group.
Upon entering the Stoner Theatre space, the scenic design immediately captivates. Jay Michael Jagim continues to demonstrate that scenic design is limited only by one’s imagination – and Jagim’s seems to know no limits. His retro, cubic set evokes a strong, mood-setting environment upon which the action happens; a fluid space with flexibly designed elements which work well for this talented cast.
Director Todd Buchacker guides a capable quartet through the rigors of LaBute’s “Reasons to Be Pretty.” This story follows two couples, with their inter-dynamics, as one couple, Steph and Greg (Sarah Hinzman and Caleb Woodley) process the verbal slight delivered by Greg which Steph will not forgive. Like an obsessive child picking at a scab, Steph remains unforgiving despite Greg’s continued efforts to permanently bury his unintended slight. Greg’s work buddy and best friend, Kent (Paul Valleau), serves as perhaps not the best philosophical sounding board. However, Kent’s girlfriend, Carly (Susan Lynn), is best friend’s with Steph. It was Steph who overheard the slight Greg uttered, and passed it along to Steph. Got it? Good.
Perhaps LaBute’s story is about how fragile relationships can be, or how much we really know the ones we care for. One friend commented that she did not like LaBute’s perspectives; she even commented she understands why this show is presented without intermission. Another way to look at this criticism might be that playwriting is about stirring up dialogue, creating conversation. If that is the goal, LaBute achieves it, for better or worse.
Hinzman and Woodley’s opening scene begins a bit slowly; not so much in pacing, but in a lack of connectivity with each other. These two have the acting chops, but it takes a while to get up to speed. By the end of the show, they draw much deeper from their characters. Hinzman softens, yet cannot bring herself to ultimately forgive something that should have been forgiven and forgotten long ago…and, she pays a price for that choice. Woodley especially has some excellent moments as his core honesty overcomes his social clumsiness. Valleau’s brash, blue collar Kent epitomizes an iconic American figure: someone who’s louder, bolder and has a few less social filters than most. Lynn’s Carly is irresistibly animated, and she infuses great energy and attitude into her role.

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FAT PIG
By Neil LaBute
DATES June 23-July 17, 2011, calendar

Best Off-Broadway Play – Outer Critics Circle Award
Best Comedy – Olivier (London) Award Nominee

Cow. Slob. Pig. Size does matter. In Fat Pig, conventionally good-looking Tom falls for Helen, a bright, funny, sexy woman, who happens to be plus-sized. Forced to explain his new relationship to his perplexed friends, Tom mst come to terms with his own preconceived notions of love and attraction. This alternately funny and poignant play not only critiques our adherence to Hollywood’s standards of beauty, but questions our ability to change what we dislike about ourselves.

CAST – FAT PIG
Helen – Kelly Schaefer
Tom – Dustin Thomas
Carter – Jason Conner
Jeannie – Noby Edwards

PRODUCTION TEAM – FAT PIG
Director – Brad Dell
Stage Manager – Bryan Doty
Scenic Designer – Jay Jagim
Lighting Designer – Jim Trenberth
Costume Designer – Emily Ganfield
Hair/Wig/Make-up Designer – Cindy Hummel
Sound Designer – Josh Jepson
Dramaturge – Nancy Evans

 

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THE SHAPE OF THINGS
By Neil LaBute
DATES June 23-July 17, 2011, calendar
TIMES Wed-Sat at 7:30 p.m., Sun at 3 p.m.

The first of LaBute’s “Beauty Plays,” The Shape of Things is an exploration of art and intimacy, and people’s willingness to do things for love. It is set in a small, Midwestern university town, and centers on the lives of four young students who become emotionally and romantically entangled as they try to cram academics, jobs, love and meaning into hectic lives.

CAST – THE SHAPE OF THINGS
Evelyn – Marnie Strate
Adam – Michael Heath
Jenny – Jessica Elwell
Phillip – Jeff White
PRODUCTION TEAM – THE SHAPE OF THINGS
Director – Jennifer Nostrala
Stage Manager – Sadie Ackerman
Scenic Designer – Jay Jagim
Lighting Designer – Jim Trenberth
Costume Designer – Emily Ganfield
Hair/Wig/Make-up Designer – Cindy Hummel
Sound Designer – Josh Jepson
Dramaturge – Nancy Evans

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Details

Start:
Jun 23, 2011
End:
Jul 17, 2011
Event Category:

Venue

StageWest Theatre
900 Mulberry St., Suite 205
Des Moines, IA 50309 United States
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Phone:
515.309.0251