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We use our lives, or the lives of others, for personal gain, and we defend it by saying it's "in the public domain" or "true", and therefore OK to slop around in someone else's pain. All tragedy ever does is bring life into sharp relief; you become a more magnified version of the person you already are. If your tendency is to be the first out of the door at work, or to pass on the inside while driving, you are not going to suddenly stop and hoist a co-worker on your shoulders and stagger out the emergency exit to safety.

That day did indeed see many heroic acts, but not everybody who died was a saint, and a good many people felt the ol' US of A finally got what was coming. Few American writers have wanted to take on the subject of how much we are hated abroad. I've written two plays about this - The Mercy Seat and Land of the Dead - and neither has won me any friends or admirers.

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Is the situation any better in Europe or England? I don't know, but I do know that, however many years after they first started writing, I can still count on a playwright like David Hare or Caryl Churchill to give a shit. Sit through one of their plays, good or bad, and you know they are hugely interested in where we are as a race, and where we're going. They're not afraid to ask the big questions. That's the job of the playwright, I firmly believe. We are outsiders. Party poopers. I've often said that a good relationship equals a shitty drama.

I'm a fairly quiet guy in real life, but I spend my working hours looking to pick a fight, to ruin somebody's day at the park, or some nice couple's marriage. I make trouble for a living. Ever since Jimmy Porter first started screaming in Look Back in Anger, or those boys towered over that pram with bricks in their hands in Edward Bond's Saved, the battle cry has been called: "Don't make nice, make a mess. Any question, any subject, any thing.


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In the s, they fought long and hard with the Lord Chamberlain for our right to scream every obscenity and to show every inch of human flesh on a stage, doing whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted - even if that meant Romans buggering Britons and old ladies not liking it. People fought so that we could say what we think, to actually give voice to the unthinkable. On many levels, I think we playwrights are failing - and again, I include myself in this.


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I tend to write about small groups of men and women friends, lovers, co-workers, family , locked in some kind of gender struggle. These are the politics that interest me, and I scour over them like Herman Melville's Bartleby sitting at his little wooden desk.

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In the course of a decade of writing, however, I have also tried to look at religion, race, art, national tragedy and a host of other social ills. Am I a naturally political writer? Not at all. A writer like Tony Kushner strikes me as someone far more naturally gifted at bringing the private and public worlds of his characters to life: he may be the most obvious link between the British writers I've long admired and contemporary America.

But I have a capricious streak in me that likes writing about the unexpected, messing about with what my audience might want to see or hear or experience - and I think of these as positive qualities. There are some terrific American plays that challenged the system and the politics of their day.

Critics Praise Three American Playwrights

In the same way that many look back to the 60s and 70s as watershed decades in cinema, I would look back to writers such as David Rabe and Amiri Baraka aka LeRoi Jones , who worried about telling the truth; and to venues such as the Living Theater and La Mama in New York, which gave voice to numerous authors who didn't ultimately want to write sitcoms and live in LA.

These writers used the stage because it was the most immediate, most perfect conduit to the people, and the people in turn listened to the outrage being voiced. Today, we worry about what our subscription audiences will think of us doing Chekhov instead of Shakespeare. He also directed several episodes for shows such as Hell on Wheels and Billions.

He produced a number of plays that pushed the envelope of what was acceptable at the conservative religious university, some of which were shut down after their premieres. However, he also was honored as one of the "most promising undergraduate playwrights" at the BYU theater department's annual awards. In the Company of Men portrays two businessmen one played by Eckhart cruelly plotting to romance and emotionally destroy a deaf woman. Medea Redux is a one-person performance by Calista Flockhart.

He has since formally left the LDS Church. It was turned into a film in with the same cast and director. Set in a small university town in the American Midwest, it focuses on four young students who become emotionally and romantically involved with each other, questioning the nature of art and the lengths to which people will go for love. Weisz's character manipulates Rudd's character into changing everything about himself and discarding his friends in order to become more attractive to her. She even pretends to fall in love with him, prompting an offer of marriage, whereupon she cruelly exposes and humiliates him before an audience, announcing that he has simply been an "art project" for her MFA thesis.

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Expecting that his family believes that he was killed in the towers' collapse, he contemplates using the tragedy to run away and start a new life with his lover. Starring Liev Schreiber and Sigourney Weaver , the play was a commercial and critical success. It went on Broadway in , with previews at the Lyceum Theatre beginning 13 March, and its opening on 2 April. The production's final performance was on June Critics have responded to his plays as having a misanthropic tone.

Britain's Independent newspaper in May dubbed him "America's misanthrope par excellence". LaBute directed Death at a Funeral , a remake of a British film of the same name. It was written by Dean Craig who also wrote the original screenplay and starred Chris Rock.

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LaBute framed the classic play in overtly metatheatrical terms and added a lesbian romance in a subplot. LaBute's first produced play, Filthy Talk for Troubled Times — a series of biting exchanges between two "everyman" characters in a bar — was staged from June 3—5, by MCC Theater as a benefit for MCC's Playwrights' Coalition and their commitment to developing new work. LaBute also directed the reading.

Originally when it premiered in New York City at the Westside Dance Project, the entire audience stood up and booed afterward. One audience member cried out, "Kill The Playwright! It ran through March 6. The screenplay was written by Labute and was adapted from Labute's own play. In an interview with Screen Comment's Sam Weisberg, he said: "I have had a lot of people direct my material for the theater, but I haven't had anyone do my work on film.

I was excited by what would be brought to it. It was great to have someone else in there that you could trust visually and intellectually and emotionally to make something that was respectful of the material but also creative. In February , MCC Theater terminated its relationship with him ending his place as their playwright-in-residence and their plans to produce his next play Reasons to Be Pretty Happy in the summer. In September , it was announced that Netflix had given order for the production of the science fiction miniseries The I-Land. LaBute is credited as the showrunner and executive producer of the miniseries.

LaBute's style is very language-oriented.

Neil LaBute on writing plays and the fall of American theatre | US news | The Guardian

His work is terse, rhythmic, and highly colloquial. His style bears similarity to one of his favorite playwrights, David Mamet. LaBute even shares some similar themes with Mamet including gender relations, political correctness, and masculinity. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Neil LaBute.