59E59 and St. Louis Actors' Studio presents the acclaimed LaBute New Theater Festival making its New York debut featuring an evening of 6 one-act plays More…
Selected from among more than 400 annual entries, this festival showcases short works by some of the most talented emerging writers from around the world, including work by Tony-nominated playwright and screenwriter Neil LaBute.
'Stand Up for Oneself': Two unlikely hearts collide at a London house party.
'Present Tense': A social media hook up.
'Two Irishmen are Digging a Ditch': A joke with a hell of a punch line.
"The Comeback Special": A sweet Elvis comedy.
'Coffee House, Greenwich Village': A blind date goes terribly wrong.
'Kandahar': A soldier returns.
"The works tie in beautifully, moving from lighthearted, comedic fun to the darker elements of human nature...'The LaBute New Theater Festival' is well worth the evening out taking you to the highs of comedy and the depths of troublesome issues that stare at us through the looks of returning soldiers of the Iraq and Afghan wars." Full Review
"With superb direction by Milton Zoth and John Pierson, they have an intriguing variety of themes. Touching, humorous, at times shocking and even disturbing, each play has it's own original tenor. Bravo to the playwrights who are bringing new perspectives to the American stage...They are original gems of plays that should have a long life in the theater." Full Review
"All told, the 'LaBute New Theater Festival' offers up a solid evening of one-acts by multiple playwrights and a strong company of actors. Much credit should go to co-directors Milton Zoth and John Pierson, who have done a masterful job of finding ways to connect and transition the pieces through a quick rearrangement of the sets, the selection of incidental music, and by the order in which the plays are presented." Full Review
"The six short plays comprising the 'LaBute New Theater Festival' might have been collectively titled something like Love and Murder, two themes clearly on the playwrights’ minds. The number of weapons on stage or implied in these entirely independent scenarios says something about where our collective heads are at...This soldier at the end of his bloody road shows us what war reveals about human nature. It’s not a pretty sight, but it’s knife-sharp theater." Full Review
"An exciting evening of new short plays that range from successfully thought-provoking to works in progress that are ready for the next step. An evening of new work that has Neil LaBute’s name boldly attached to the title holds exciting potential...The crown jewel of the night, Neil LaBute’s 'Kandahar,' ends the evening...'Kandahar' is deeply and fascinatingly complicated." Full Review
"The production values are rather basic. Patrick Huber’s set design is simple in the extreme. The set changes between plays are a bit awkward, but are accompanied by musical selections that comment, sometimes amusingly, on the previous play...Of the five new playwrights, I thought that G.D. Kimble showed the most promise. Directors Milton Zoth and John Pierson are unobtrusively effective. The evening had its moments, but they were relatively few." Full Review
"The six plays are by seven different playwrights; their settings run the gamut from Greenwich Village to Memphis, Tennessee to Northern Ireland; and plotlines range from the pleasures of sexting to the ramifications of PTSD. But for all their differences, they do share a unifying theme in their exploration of the human imagination and its location somewhere between fantasy and reality." Full Review
"Three exceptional one act plays and three poor ones comprise this collection...The St. Louis Actors’ Studio’s project of discovering and presenting the work of emerging playwrights is a noble enterprise and the 'LaBute New Theater Festival' is a qualified success in that regard." Full Review
"For any up-and-coming playwright, the 'LaBute New Theater Festival' is a big deal...The problem with 'Kandahar' is that it is exquisitely written, thus highlighting where the preceding one-act plays fall short. LaBute's chilling and masterful final segment hinders the overall effect by overshadowing the very material that the festival is showcasing, as if to say, just prior to the curtain call, 'This is how it's done.'" Full Review
"As the audience nestled into their seats, compact and too close for comfort, the music foreshadowed the blossoming of passion, love, ardent youth, human hypocrisy, adultery, death and the fight for the glory of life...The 'LaBute New Theater Festival' is at times inspiring like a spring breeze teasing the remnants of a harsh winter. It’s worth soaking your feet in the frothy tide, but don’t expect to get lost in a spirited symphony of superior theater." Full Review
"Since this is the 'LaBute New Theater Festival,' it's fitting that the most striking offering is the most LaButian: G. D. Kimble's 'Two Irishmen are Digging a Ditch,' which has the audacity and twisty plotting that one has come to associate with the festival's namesake...The rest of the program, save the single contribute by LaBute himself, is pretty thin stuff...'The LaBute New Theatre Festival' isn't worth going out of your way to catch." Full Review
"'Kandahar' by Neil LaBute is a splendid one man play in which a war veteran is being questioned...Direction of this is far superior to any of the other plays. A terrific piece of work by all involved. You just have to get through five less than satisfying efforts before it." Full Review
"'The Neil LaBute New Theater Festival' at 59E59 fills this two hours in the theater with uneven production values, in some OK plays and one damn good one. Some plays are bizarre. Some are funny, some frightening. The same can be said of the performances: some OK, and one damn good one; some bizarre, some funny, some scary...The plays and performances in this festival of one-acts need more than earnestness to make them work." Full Review
See it if you like 3 relatively short plays in one evening; you want to laugh out loud during the third play;
Don't see it if you're tired of plays that involve gays and plays that make fun of the current President
See it if you can't miss a Neil Labute piece - his is by far the best.
Don't see it if you want your one acts to make sense. I feel bad saying this, but the other plays needed much more work.
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