Neil LaBute play highlights off-Broadway festival

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 25, 2013 at 7:39 am •  Published: January 25, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — Next week, you'll get the chance to see a small play by Neil LaBute that's running off-Broadway. If you do, you'll have a leg up on LaBute — he's never seen it.

LaBute, the prolific screenwriter and playwright behind "Fat Pig," ''In the Company of Men" and "Your Friends & Neighbors," last year submitted a tiny work to the British-based collective Theatre Uncut, which asked writers worldwide to respond to their current political climate.

LaBute contributed "In the Beginning," a 10-minute, two-person play in which a skeptical parent and an idealistic child debate the Occupy movement. It was among the highlights of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer.

Now it's one of five plays from the series that have made the trip to New York, appearing off-Broadway beginning Tuesday on Theatre Row. It will make its American debut without its playwright having ever seen it.

LaBute, in an interview this week from Los Angeles, laughs that he's contributed several of his works to various causes but hasn't been able to watch them, including a new one he just gave to a group in Washington, D.C., pushing for gun control.

"You have to be able to hand them over at the steps of the orphanage and say, 'Look, they're good kids. I can't raise them. I managed to have too many. I had a litter. I'm not going to drown them. I'm going to give them to you and you do what you want," he says.

Joining LaBute's work are "The Price" by Lena Kitsopoulou from Greece, "The Breakout" by Anders Lustgarten from Britain, "The Birth of My Violence" by Marco Canale from Spain and "Spine" by Clara Brennan from Britain.

Theatre Uncut was born in 2011 when artistic directors Emma Callander and Hannah Price asked a number of local writers for short plays in response to government spending cuts. Theaters across the world were invited to stage the works over a one-week period without having to fork over licensing fees.