- It pleases me to report I was able to see a filmed production of Neil LaBute‘s play, Reasons to be Pretty (2008), on YouTube. It was mounted by the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute.
- The plot purveys for us the hurt Steph, a young woman whose lover, Greg, remarked to another person that Steph has a regular face (not a pretty one). This news finds its way to Steph, and she is infuriated. She walks out on Greg, but two married friends begin to have even worse troubles—the fellow likes a hottie—with residual vexations thrown upon Greg.
- This is meant to be a serious play, but Reasons to be Pretty is annoyingly slight in its meaning and content. What it says about physical appearance is not very important and quite predictable. Even so, it is one of LaBute’s few palatable artworks. Although it despises the proclivities of young men, it throws darts at those of both sexes, but without misanthropy. Properly structured, it is incessantly engaging, and free of the subpar characterizations in The Shape of Things and the lousy film Your Friends and Neighbors. To me it’s plebeian fun, albeit it should be more than that. Re the acting in the filmed production, I particularly enjoyed Paul Rush and Zoe Sidney (Steph).
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