Tuesday, March 27, 2012


clip_image001Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) student theater company, Rivals of the West, will present two critically-acclaimed and provocative plays by Neil LaBute.

WHEN: Thursday, April 5–Sunday, April 15
WHERE: BBOX, the College’s state-of-the-art black box theater located inside The Gateway, 1601 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore
TICKETS: $10, all students with ID; $15, general admission ($5 discount available for purchasing tickets to both shows). Tickets will be available at the MICA Store (1200 W. Mount Royal Ave. and store.mica.edu), online at Brown Paper Tickets (brownpapertickets.com) and at the door on the day of the event.

LaBute is one of America’s hottest and most controversial young playwrights, and in two of his most celebrated plays, he takes on beguiling questions, such as who decides what is beautiful—or rather, who is beautiful—and what is beauty?

Thursday, April 5; Saturday, April 7; Friday, April 13; and Sunday, April 15, 8 PM

Fat Pig is the clever but touching story of a stereotypical young professional named Tom who falls in love with a confident, plus-sized librarian named Helen. The play explores how society treats a romance between the two. After premiering off-Broadway at the MCC Theater in New York City in 2004, the play has been staged across the country and internationally at the Boston Center for the Arts, Trafalgar Studios in London, Teatro Nacional La Castellana in Bogota, Colombia, the Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley, Calif., and Teatro Procópio Ferreira in São Paulo, Brazil. There are plans in the works to bring the production to Broadway.

reasons to be pretty
WHEN: Friday, April 6; Sunday, April 8; Thursday, April 12; and Saturday, April 14, 8 PM

In reasons to be pretty, a cast of four young working class friends and lovers become increasingly dissatisfied with their dead-end lives—and each other. Similar to Fat Pig, reasons to be pretty examines perceptions of beauty and asks whether it is as much of a curse to be conventionally attractive as it is to be considered ugly. Nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play, reasons to be pretty was LaBute’s first to be staged on Broadway, with an 85-performance run that lasted from April through June 2009 at the Lyceum Theatre. The play is currently at the Almeida Theater in London and will premiere at the Darlinghurst Theatre in Sydney, Australia in May.

“These two plays by Neil LaBute are essentially about our ideas on beauty—human beauty in all its forms, not just the physical—certainly an age-old concern to artists working in all media,” said MICA faculty member Christopher Shipley, who serves as producer for the shows. “They both pose tough questions we generally like to avoid, but which serious artists have always bravely answered. And I think LaBute answers them, too, though we might be made uncomfortable by what he has to say. Nonetheless, we should at least have the courage to hear his answers and come up with our own, if we think he’s wrong.”

The spring productions are the culmination of the annual six-credit The Play’s the Thing course, taught by Shipley. The class has established a potent and serious dramatic tradition at MICA, progressing from simple scenes staged wherever students could find space to state-of-the-art performances at BBOX, MICA’s 58-by-58-foot performance space, located in The Gateway, which is named in honor of Baltimore-based designers Betty Cooke ’46 and Bill Steinmetz ’50.

More information is available at rivalsofthewest.org.