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Wednesday, December 10,2008

Give it LaBute

Give it LaBute Kick cheer to curb with dark playwright

by Eric Gallippo
Having trouble choking down the saccharine treats of the season? Then try snacking on some old-fashioned human misery and angst in the next week when two theater companies open shows by pessimist extraordinaire Neil LaBute.

Erin Clossen, who is directing a BoarsHead Theater Dark Night production of LaBute’s “The Shape of Things,” admits the “not-positive” playwright is an unusual pick for mid-December. “It’s a weird time of year to have both running,” Clossen says. “People are doing happy Christmas shows. Then you have Neil LaBute, who is kind of, not negative, but comes from that point of view of manipulation.”

As for her show, the BoarsHead intern would only say the play follows the four-month relationship of a guy and a girl who meet randomly at an art museum. While she wouldn’t say how it ends, it doesn’t seem like it can be good. “I just really like things that are kind of depressing,” Clossen says. “If I see a show and it really makes me sad and makes me cry, I’m like ‘Oh, I love it.””

“The Shape of Things.” 7 p.m. Dec. 15 & 16. 425 S. Grand Ave., Lansing. $5 suggested donation. (517) 484-7805. www.boarshead.org.

***

Clossen was excited to learn about the potential “depressing weekend of theater” she had unintentionally helped schedule with Peppermint Creek Theater Co., which opens LaBute’s “Some Girl(s)” on Thursday. Directed by Lela Ivey, the show follows the story of an up-and-coming writer who, in the face of mortal commitment to his current girlfriend, goes on a cross-country trip to seek out his ex’s.

“Some Girl(s).” Dec. 11-20. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $10/$15. (517) 927-3016. www.peppermintcreek.org.

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