Neil LaBute: Plays 1

Neil LaBute

Neil LaBute: Plays 1 contains Filthy Talk for Troubled Times, The Mercy Seat, Some Girl(s), This Is How It Goes, Helter Skelter and A Second of Pleasure. Spanning his career from 1990 to 2013, this collection brings together plays by Neil LaBute that take an unflinching look at the turbulent relationships between men and women.

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Filthy Talk for Troubled Time is one of his earliest plays. A downbeat night at a topless bar exposes the gulf between the twitchy clientele and the waitresses who serve but despise them. The Mercy Seat examines a couple who, on the day after a world-changing atrocity, toy with exploiting it to start a new life. Some Girl(s) follows a young writer’s panicked retreat from his imminent wedding as he seeks out old girlfriends and opens new wounds, while in This Is How It Goes the breakdown of a seemingly successful marriage is complicated by submerged bigotry and hatred. The collection also includes two short plays about relationships in crisis – A Second of Pleasure and Helter Skelter – which are in equal part tender and chilling.

Together these plays form a complex and compelling portrait of the sexes – sometimes warring, sometimes loving, but never fully at peace.


Neil LaBute received his Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing from New York University and was the recipient of a literary fellowship to study at the Royal Court Theatre, London. He also attended the Sundance Institute’s Playwrights Lab and is the Playwright-in- Residence with MCC Theatre in New York City. LaBute’s plays include: bash: latter-day plays, The Shape…

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