Thursday, October 2, 2014

6 QUESTIONS: Neil LaBute

The prolific playwright, Neil LaBute, will once again be at La MaMa for a second edition of AdA: Author Directing Author with fellow playwright Marco Calvani.  Neil's new play, Happy Hour, will play October 16th - November 2nd at La MaMa's First Floor Theatre.  Neil took a break from rehearsals to answer our 6 Questions: 

1. This is the second time you have been involved with AdA at La MaMa. What did you learn from the first AdA?
Every time I work in the theater I learn a little more about collaboration but with AdA, which relies so heavily on writer/directors working together, often with actors and crew from a variety of countries, I find that I’m really dependent on my colleagues to help me with my work. Understanding the nuance of different languages and acting styles in another country really puts me at a disadvantage and so concentration is so important. I love the work that Marco (Calvani) has been doing as a writer and I feel very comfortable with my work in his hands. I do feel that, having done this process twice now, that he feels the same way about me.
2. This year’s AdA revolves around the theme of desire. What do you desire?
I can be someone who really focuses on their work--I love it but I've also been guilty in the past as using it as a means of escaping life and the real world. My fullest desire is to continue to do the kind of work I've been doing as a writer and director but to be able to share it with a like-minded person. Finding a balance between my work and my life is a real desire of mine and a desire to push myself as a writer and director, to continue to strive to do something new rather than repeating myself. I also desire that Roger Federer wins a few more majors before he retires but that’s a different story...
3. Who or what inspires you?
So many things that I can’t begin to list them. Marco’s work inspires me. Books that I’m reading or have read are a source of inspiration and certainly other writers and filmmakers. I don’t get too jealous; I admire what other people are doing and/or have done. People who get out and risk their work and themselves on stage or in life are very inspirational--people who criticize without taking the same amount of risk inspire me as well, but only to disdain them. Twitter does not inspire me. Facebook does not inspire me. Life and work inspire me.

4. Have you seen a play or film recently that made an impression on you?
I watched Eric Rohmer’s film Claire’s Knee again on TMC the other night. I’ve always loved his work and this viewing only reconfirmed for me how simple and brilliant his work was. Honest, vivid snapshots of men and women together, mixed with his brilliant takes on philosophy, religion, morality, etc. I also started reading James Dickey’s novel Deliverance --I'd seen the film many times but never read the book. Saw a beautiful first edition and bought it and I'm very moved by his terse, poetic language.

5. If stranded on a desert island, what three cd’s would you want to have with you?
Revolver by The Beatles. In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra. Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello. I’d also hide Kind of Blue by Miles Davis in my underwear and hope nobody finds it. Maybe my back pocket makes more sense than my underwear...

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?

I love working in both the wonderful East Village location in New York and also the Spoleto farmhouse. I’ve been lucky enough to be in both places and the atmosphere in each is charged with creativity. I love the family of people who work for La MaMa and the brilliant leadership of Mia Yoo. I feel very lucky to have a place like La MaMa where I can go and concentrate on nothing but the work -- it’s not about business or success or anything like that at La MaMa; it’s all about the work and that’s like finding an oasis in the desert.

La MaMa presents
Author directing Author

written and directed 
by Neil LaBute and Marco Calvani
and Marco Calvani and Neil LaBute

October 16 - November 2, 2014 

The First Floor Theater
74A East 4th Street 

(Between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors. Ten tickets priced at $10 each are available for every performance, in advance only via web, phone or at the box office. Not available day of show. 

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE