Shape of Things
The New York State Writers Institute’s screening of Neil
LaBute’s film The Shape of Things is not first-date
appropriate—unless you’re far, far, far braver than we.
This is no insult to LaBute himself, of whom The New
Yorker’s John Lahr has said, “There is no playwright
on the planet these days who is writing better than Neil
LaBute.” It’s just that LaBute’s work—as playwright, screenwriter,
director and author—paints relationships as, well, mostly
his first film, The Company of Men, LaBute has been
controversial. That film was pilloried—as much as it was
praised—for its unflinching depiction of the brutality and
exploitation that can inform romantic/sexual attraction.
In it, two male coworkers set out to systematically humiliate
a female associate as revenge against womankind in general.
The film made women’s groups irate, made audiences squirm
and made Roger Ebert comment: “In the Company of Men
is the kind of bold, uncompromising film that insists
on being thought about afterward—talked about, argued about,
hated if necessary, but not ignored.”
LaBute hasn’t let up since. His latest film, The Shape
of Things (an adaptation of his play of the same name),
turns the tables somewhat by depicting the near-literal
rebuilding of an awkward young man by a woman whose motives
are highly questionable. It has been described as “a terrifying
parable about modern love and art.”
Shape of Things will be screened at Page Hall (135 Western
Ave., Albany) tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 22). The 7 PM show
is free, and will be followed by commentary by screenwriter
and director Neil LaBute. For more information, call 442-5620.
it’s because they’re Canadian.
they actually are or not, Canadians just seem nicer. And
the Tragically Hip just seem like nice guys. Since they
first got together back in 1987, the Hip have released album
after album of engaging (forgive us for using this term)
modern rock. Though the Hipsters never broke through to
so-called superstardom, their dogged touring and energetic
live shows—the Village Voice once mentioned them
in the same breath as Springsteen—have earned them a ferociously
Did we mention they’re nice?
Brit imports (and recent Tonight Show guests) the
Sam Roberts Band are gaining a rep for playing catchy, traditional
pop rock. Don’t take our word for it. Dig these déjà vu-inducing
sample song titles: “Don’t Walk Away Eileen” and “Where
Have All the Good People Gone?”
The Tragically Hip and Sam Roberts Band will perform tonight
(Thursday, Oct. 21) at 7:30 PM at Northern Lights (Route
146, Clifton Park). Tickets are $20. For more info, call
With Demons and a Little Ham
definition, the Albany-based playwrights who comprise the
League of Justice spend much of their time huddled over
keyboards, pecking away far from the footlights. The group,
formed in 2001, meet to present and critique scripts, offering
up support and advice, and then it’s back to work. But there
comes a time when the reaction most needed is that of a
real-life audience, and it’s time to get the play off the
paper and onto the stage, where the whole shebang will ultimately
stand or fall.
That time has come: Tonight and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday),
the League of Justice will present an evening of five one-act
plays under the general title Dining With Demons and a Little
Ham. The plays range in style and tone, from the nostalgic
to the darkly comic, from character-driven drama to “mini-musical,”
and feature both newcomers to the area stage and longtime
vets. Playwrights include Veno Jeffrey Anderson, Sandi Dollinger,
David Irving, Marty Manjak and Amanda Stankavich.
With Demons and a Little Ham will be presented tonight and
tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 21, and Friday, Oct. 22), at 8
PM at the First Congregational Church (405 Quail St., Albany).
The suggested donation for the pay-what-you-will shows is
$5. For more information, call 462-2905.