On this edition of L.A. Theatre Works, we present Neil LaBute‘s reasons to be pretty, starring Jenna Fischer, Thomas Sadoski, Gia Crovatin, and Josh Stamberg.
About the play (taken from a review by KQED Arts):
Steph is a young woman who concludes that her boyfriend doesn’t find her pretty enough. The curtain goes up on Steph in a tantrum of hysterics, allegations, and castigations. She’s leaping on the bed, cursing up a storm, demanding that her boyfriend Greg confess to what she says she knows that he feels. She wants to thrash it out, he side-steps. He flounders in her tidal wave of vitriol and meets it with inept sputters.
If men are from Mars, in LaBute’s cosmic view, then women are from planet psycho. But the cards are stacked in his favor. He may display typical male-pattern detachment but clearly this chick’s a whack-job.
In this four character play of two couples, one dude’s an jerk, one’s a decent guy; LaBute positions himself to be an equal opportunity observer of bad behavior in both of the sexes. Or perhaps he’s an equal opportunity caricaturist.
Kent, Greg’s buddy and fellow shift worker in a packing plant, is a textbook misogynist. His disrespect for women, including his wife, is broadly conceived. His wife Carly evolves from manipulative troublemaker to emotionally insecure victim. Steph also evolves into a less angry, sadder version of herself.
It’s Greg who occupies more of a gray area. We know he’s a good egg because he spends his lunch hour reading 19th-century novels and trying to stay out of trouble. But try as he might to do the right thing, Steph is a wild card — summoning an audience at the mall’s food court to verbally flog him.