Closed 1h 30m
LaBute New Theater Festival 2019
Midtown W
76

LaBute New Theater Festival 2019 NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(108 Reviews)
Positive
84%
Mixed
11%
Negative
5%
Members say
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Edgy, Intelligent, Relevant

About the Show

St. Louis's one-act festival returns to New York with a new lineup featuring three premier one-acts by Neil LaBute: "Unlikely Japan," "Great Negro Works of Art," and "The Fourth Reich."

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Member Reviews (108)

90
Edgy, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if You would enjoy 3 short plays that shine a light of truth into some of the darkest, ugliest and scariest parts of ourselves.

Don't see it if You’re not willing to be challenged and probably first and foremost with a look in the mirror. Read more

75
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if Partner upset with the Hitler one act 75 is our Ave. Great acting by all four performers. All 3 fascinating topics Typical of the writer

Don't see it if Ask yourself i f you like his previous work. Two of the one acts are solos, the other a duet. If you do not like 1st row, take Row F 4th row

Critic Reviews (19)

January 17th, 2019

"'Great Negro Works of Art' is an ur-LaButian text, starting with a title that should inspire an anticipatory wince, but vague enough to make it difficult to pinpoint the issue...Mr. LaBute’s writing is as skillful as ever, but Tom and Jerri’s date spins into a predictable downward spiral...Mr. LaBute may be mellower, but that does not make him any more uplifting."
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January 17th, 2019

"'The Fourth Reich': Under John Pierson's direction, White's portrayal is quite warm and thoughtful, even flashing a bit of stand-up comedy showmanship on occasion...The program's third entry, 'Unlikely Japan,' is directed by LaBute and is decidedly more low-key than its predecessors...What connects the three pieces is how they all deal with the subjectivity of what we regard to be the truth, stemming from individual points of view."
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January 18th, 2019

“Ninety minutes of pure LaBute, a format that may not be in the playwright's best interest...In each of the plays featured here, one feels two steps ahead, fully aware of where the action is headed and impatient over the time it takes to get there...The best piece, ‘Unlikely Japan’...LaBute's admittedly strong direction -- explores the multiple layers of guilt and denial at the character's core, making Katie the most compelling character of the evening...This is a flat collection."
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January 14th, 2019

"Suggests that LaBute wants to remind ultra-sensitive audiences that his plays do not represent his views, but rather illuminate the dark truths lurking within the dubious characters he fashions...Curiously enough, one can’t help but notice that much as the playwright strives to present what he sees as the truth within his characters, the two women he creates here are not as self-aware as the men, even though one of these guys advocates for Hitler."
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January 14th, 2019

"Offers neither fodder for the salacious nor the gut punch and unlikely poignance of his best work, it’s a timely affirmation that LaBute remains among our most vital and necessary observers of messy modern life. That timeliness extends to the subject matter of the new plays...'Unlikely Japan,' another one-character piece, ends the collection on a high note, reminding us that LaBute’s female characters can be as sharply drawn and as vexing as his guys."
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January 16th, 2019

“An exhilarating trio of short plays by noted cultural provocateur Neil LaBute...Each is a well-crafted topical theatrical snapshot smoothly dramatizing contemporary United States themes. LaBute’s distinctive dark humor and sharp insights into the human condition are realized by his bitingly precise dialogue. Most crucially he has created enthralling showcases for actors to dazzle in...Three knockouts make for a thrilling event.”
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January 16th, 2019

"All three offerings are by LaBute himself, and therefore, the enterprise feels a bit less exciting. It’s not uncommon for a famous writer to offer a bill of great short plays that he’s amassed over the years, but these three new plays seem decidedly underdeveloped...I found myself impatient attending three plays that would have been better served by a table read. Even famous writers need to bother with the rigors of fully developing their work."
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January 18th, 2019

"Each of his new plays is absorbingly written and perfectly acted…In 'The Fourth Reich' we meet…a…guy who casually chats to us about why maybe Adolf Hitler really wasn't such a monster…In 'Great Negro Works of Art'…a white woman…and a…black man…meet after connecting on a dating app…'Unlikely Japan'…keeps us glued to its tale of a woman's guilt at having spurned the attentions of a man, the high school beau in whom she'd lost interest."
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January 15th, 2019

“All three plays...are provocative and deal with hot topics...They are all calculated to sting, surprise and stir up the kind of feelings you might otherwise not care to acknowledge...‘Great Negro Works of Art’ is excellent...'The Fourth Reich' is under the playwright's direction. It's a chiller that may make your skin crawl...'Unlikely Japan:' It's the what-if kind of story that is given some heft by the compelling way that Crovatin takes us back to the teen romance."
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January 15th, 2019

“In this trio of plays...Everyone is pretty much unlikable...Each play is built around good intention, but...not enough to pave the road to a riveting piece of theatre...'‘The Fourth Reich:’...Not only was the text going nowhere, but the intended recipient was unknown...’Great Negro Works of Art’...Not a new idea but it could have been...’Unlikely Japan:’...Lacks gravitas and becomes a ho-hum...All in all a great set of intentions that fail to lift up off the page.”
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January 18th, 2019

“A master class times three on how to create uneasy drama and intent...They each get a polished presentation that digs deep into the idea of truth-telling and fact checking...A compelling circle of earthen dirt to dig into, regardless of the dynamic...The writing highlights what LaBute does best, telling detailed and strange stories of attraction, bad behavior, and shame, forcing us to look at lies and truths through a lens that is warped.”
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January 20th, 2019

“Three premier one-acts by...LaBute. The first one was ‘The Fourth Reich’...White does well...and Pierson’s direction is simple, yet effective...In ‘Great Negro Works of Art’...Both actors again do a fine job...The final play ‘Unlikely Japan’ is directed by LaBute...The psychology of truth and belief is different for everybody, but in LaBute’s world it always seems he sees the worst traits in people to be fodder for his writing. I find his work morose.”
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January 14th, 2019

"If LaBute intended to provoke, his circumspect treatment has undermined that intent...The final and, in my opinion, least successful work is 'Unlikely Japan'...As is often the case with LaBute, the women do not come off well; one is a bit dim and the other lacks compassion...In all three plays, LaBute seems to be holding back and showing a muted, less confrontational side. The actors in all three plays were first-rate."
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January 15th, 2019

"A provocative program, with two particularly strong works following a problematic opener...'Great Negro Works of Art,' is set in a museum...LaBute explores their differences as the two walk around observing paintings and verbally spar with increasing intensity...'Unlikely Japan' consists of a heartfelt monologue by the impressive Gia Crovatin...'The Fourth Reich' is difficult to swallow...LaBute’s efforts to make us look at Hitler in a different way are shallow, and even offensive."
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January 25th, 2019

“'The Fourth Reich:' White is pitch perfect...Pierson’s sense of timing and choice of even tone add chill to this effective piece...'Great Negro Works:' Writing is accomplished, its arc thoroughly realistic and relatable. Both Jones and Meaney are very fine...'Unlikely Japan:'I don’t believe it..Had the playwright given us a couple with a deeply wrenching past, distress and self examination might be viable. Under these circumstances they’re not. Crovatin is handicapped by the script."
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January 19th, 2019

"The first and final pieces are character studies in which one actor addresses the audience directly...These bookend reveries...are well performed by Eric Dean White and Gia Crovatin but they’re slight works. And, if I’m going to be honest, they’re annoying too, striking me as the kind of weaselly...excuses kids give when they don’t want to take responsibility for their own actions...Taken together, they add up to a declaration that truth is merely the property of whoever is telling a tale."
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January 15th, 2019

“LaBute’s plays often attempt to shock—or at the very least agitate...Fans of LaBute will be happy to know that the latest offerings contain their share of unease, and they unsettle with needling provocations around politics, race, and personal relationships...The plays include simple but effective design...The minimalist approach is fitting for this trio of one-acts. LaBute has a knack for encapsulating big ideas in pocket-size plays.”
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January 14th, 2019

“Captivating...All of LaBute’s one acts...deal with at least the proposition of alternative facts...The remarkable thing about these plays is that LaBute is not asking us simply to do our research and compile the facts before weighing in on the external evidence of history. He is instead asking us to mine the direction of our own internal moral compass and, without any coaching or prompting, reject the very notion of anything as tragically destructive as evil or alternative facts.”
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January 18th, 2019

“Three one-act plays by Neil LaBute...’The Fourth Reich,’ directed by John Pierson, is a one man monologue...Then followed by ‘Great Negro Works of Art’ also directed by John Pierson...’Unlikely Japan’ was directed by Neil LaBute himself...Unfortunately, I didn’t feel anything positive about the LaBute New Theater Festival. I don’t blame the actors. They got into the roles and were believable characters. It was just that their scripts didn’t have any real substance.”
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