Neil LaBute's "Bash" | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

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Neil LaBute's "Bash"

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Neil LaBute's Bash: Latter-Day Plays, opening this week at Circle Theatre, is a trio of one-act monologues by characters whose normalcy masks the occasional nasty surprise--a little dose of bloody vengeance or murder. But that's typical of LaBute. The playwright and screenwriter has been attracting and alarming audiences since his 1997 Sundance Film Festival breakthrough In the Company of Men, and Circle likes him enough to schedule his work twice this season. Bash launches their BlackBox series; the company presents The Shape of Things in March as part of its main-stage program. Bash's three confessional tales--Media Redux, Iphigenia in Orem, and A Gaggle of Saints--reveal ancient evil in the lives of people who could be, as the title of another LaBute work has it, Your Friends and Neighbors. When it opened off-Broadway in 1999 the New York Times found it "darkly engrossing"; a Chicago production left Reader critic Jack Helbig "uneasy." Circle's production is directed by Jeffrey Cass and features Robert L. Oakes, Hunter Stiebel, and Candace Thompson. LaBute, who lives in Fort Wayne, will be in the audience sometime during the run, which begins with a preview performance at 8 on Thursday, August 26, and continues Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2 through September 12. Circle is at 7300 W. Madison in Forest Park. Tickets are $12; call 708-771-0700 for reservations.

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