Neil LaBute Triple Bill
‘Like a long distance runner who is asked to fill in for a sprinter at the last minute, you find yourself using a whole different set of muscles that you didn’t know you had.’ Neil LaBute regards short play writing, it seems, as a sort of artistic exercise, one that he returns to with ‘alarming regularity’.
It also happens that these little exercises in dramatic control are extremely popular with audiences. Having attracted huge critical and audience acclaim for the double bill of Land of the Dead and Helter Skelter at London’s Bush Theatre in 2008, Dialogue Productions’ director Patricia Benecke contacted LaBute to discuss taking the shows on tour, only to be offered a third, brand new play, The Furies.
The three now form a trilogy of one-act dramas, each centring on a couple at a pivotal moment in their relationship, and together offering what Benecke terms ‘a beautiful study on psychological warfare and how people hurt each other’. But amid the violence is LaBute’s customary recognition of how humour can surface in these tense situations between people who know too well how to make each other laugh as well as cry.
Expressed with characteristic bluntness by the man himself, LaBute’s artistic credo is this: ‘Get people laughing, then make that laugh stick in their throats. If that doesn’t work, immediately kick them in the stomach. Enjoy. Repeat.’
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 16–Sat 20 Feb