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LaBute New Theater Festival 2019

From 108 member  reviews
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." More…

In "Unlikely Japan" a young woman spots an old flame on television and vividly recounts how a single choice can alter the course of multiple lives.

"Great Negro Works of Art" follows a meeting between an under-celebrated artist and his gallery manager as they debate race, culture, and what is/what is not “art” today. 

"The Fourth Reich" focuses on a public speaker as he presents his unique views on modern history, thoughts about the future and ruminations on his favorite painter.

Member Reviews (108)


Thought-provoking, Great acting, Edgy, Intelligent, Relevant
Avg Score

Hostile, self-indulgent, shallow, lacking character development or plot

See it if You have a love for theater seemingly intended to generate discomfort and anger.

Don't see it if You like nuance and subtlety. Your idea of theater doesn't include a monologue of neo-Nazi ranting.

Relevant, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you enjoy satire. you enjoy dark humor. you appreciate thought provoking plays on ethics and moral. If you want to see great acting.

Don't see it if you are afraid of hot topics such as racism and get easily offended by satire

Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Edgy

See it if You enjoy plays with intriguing insights. It brings disturbing thoughts to the forefront and gives voice to people's internal struggles.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of small theatres, taboo topics or one-act plays.

Edgy, Slow, Mediocre, Confusing, Insipid

See it if ONLY if you are a dire LaBute fan.

Don't see it if You like actors to make strong choices instead of being wishy-washy.

Also ********Spoilers-ish Below***************... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you enjoys one-act plays designed to make one feel uncomfortable, with no easy answers but with plenty of dark humor and excellent acting.

Don't see it if you dislike one-acts or require complex plots. The first play seemed designed to provoke and force you to draw your own conclusion.

Also Although the second play was more cliched, the verbal barbs and acting... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if If you are a fan of Neil Labute writing which is always interesting and thought provoking and always attracts great actors.

Don't see it if If you do not like solo acts or two handers.

Dizzying, Intense, Insipid

See it if you like to think and feel uncomfortable, sometimes it feels like that is the goal

Don't see it if you see through some of the dramatic devices and want a shows that's less scripted and more unpredictable

Disappointing, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant, Quirky

See it if you like LaBute's scorching dialogue, you'll enjoy at least one of these three plays. The two monologues were largely misses for me.

Don't see it if you're not a LaBute fan. These three short plays are very typical of his work: timely issues with buttons pushed to the point of discomfort.

Entertaining, Great acting, Quirky, Relevant

See it if 3 very different plays - interesting, but not LaBute's best work. Good acting. Moves quickly.

Don't see it if Do not see if you desire a standard in depth show. Short plays cannot get into real character study. Just OK.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy

See it if You like one plays with one or two actors about contemporary subjects.

Don't see it if You are bored watching plays with little action and lots of talk.

Absorbing, Great acting, Clever, Funny, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy fast paced, one act vignettes addressing contemporary issues in a thoughtful, deep way

Don't see it if You need action and fast pace, don’t enjoy reflective contemporary dialogue

Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if you are into relevant, thought-provoking plays that challenge your most basic assumptions. Be ready to feel uncomfortable and engaged.

Don't see it if you aren't ready to be exposed to unconventional and thought-provoking thinking.

Thought-provoking, Edgy, Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing

See it if Well acted and absorbing one-act plays. Always had you on the edge of being uncomfortable, but totally engaged.

Don't see it if You are easily offended. Doesn’t shy away from race or politics. Not a light night at the theater.

Relevant, Cliched, Intelligent, Disappointing, Not complex

See it if You want to see LaBute's latest work.

Don't see it if You do not like superficial treatments of racism and prejudice.

Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like direct and raw drama, and difficult and uncomfortable situations. You appreciate small productions (1 or 2 characters, no set)

Don't see it if You don't like confrontation and uncomfortable / awkward situations. You need to find all characters likable to enjoy a performance.

Dated, Slow, Resonant, Good writing, Good acting

See it if You are a fan of Neil Labute and enjoy short 1 act plays

Don't see it if You prefer a linear plot or happy upbeat musicals

Electrifying, relevant, masterful, dark

See it if You want to see a masterful playwright's talents on display in three short, powerful plays. LaBute's dialogue is mind-blowingly good, as

Don't see it if always, and he continues to provoke us--dare us--to see the darker side of human beings on earth. The atmosphere in the audience was

Also especially tense during the first monologue, styled as a speech by a m... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Edgy, Indulgent, Overrated, Confusing

See it if You like being provoked or are not easily provoked and get stand back from it.

Don't see it if You are sensitive about issues like race and the Holocaust. I thought it went too far to make a point that wasn't worth it.

During previews
Ambitious, Dizzying, Indulgent

See it if Labute s 3 are a bit rambling, but some good writing and somewhat interesting.

Don't see it if If you do not want wordy plays, something lighter.

During previews
Relevant, Good acting, Perceptive, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you want to see 2 monologues & a 2-hander from the insightful Labute about questioning & challenging one's perceptions of accepted truths.

Don't see it if you're looking for something light, easy & unprovocative; you don't like unadorned, modest (in terms of design), wordy plays.

Also This isn't LaBute's strongest work, but it is still interesting, well-... Read more Read less

During previews
Thin, Undramatic, Well played, Talky, Slow

See it if you would like to experience a less-dyspeptic side of Neil LaBute (for the most part).

Don't see it if you're looking for drama: these 3 one-acts are bookended by monologs & the central 2-hander is pretty much all talk as well.

Also The middle play of these 3 one-acts has moments of humor & even charm.... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Slow, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Edgy

See it if Button-pusher Neil tackles an Adolph supporter, interracial daters, and an ex mourning a jilted lover.The centrepiece is "Great Negro Works"

Don't see it if Continuing LaBute's affinity for punishing his female characters and not knowing how to end his plays, the 80 gimmicky mins are swift.

Also "Festival" is misleading.

During previews
Edgy, Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if LaBute likes to shock so be ready in the first play. Best is the second - biracial dating in a world of political correctness.

Don't see it if If you have any kind of sensitivity about mass murder, racial remarks, despots, or just normal things never said aloud.

During previews
Two monologues and one one act.

See it if You like Labute and like one acts.

Don't see it if You don't like Labute and don't like two monologues and one acts.

During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Edgy

See it if want to see LaBute's latest works, even minor and muted ones.

Don't see it if you don't like monologues or talky two-person plays or are easily offended.

Also LaBute seems to be holding back here. Even the most provocative topic ... Read more Read less

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. L...
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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 conne...
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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 adm...
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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 s...
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