Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

You can't feel dispassionately about Neil Labute.

Either you love the guy or you hate him. Labute churns out consistently controversial, complicated, provocative, thoughtful work. His plays have intrigued me since I first saw The Shape of Things some years ago, and I've kept one eye on his writing ever since. Not only does he often lean on a few of my favorite first-rate actors (Paul Rudd and Aaron Eckhart among them), but he engages contemporary and ancient themes that a lot of other writers pussy-foot around.

But, nope, not Labute. He slams into "the ugly" head-on. Which is perhaps why I dig his writing so much. This NYT Magazine profile really only serves to further complicate the enigmatic playwright, but it's intriguing nonetheless. Check out the links included to the audio slideshow from a few years back featuring the beautiful Ed Harris in Wrecks, as well as reviews of Labute's other recent productions. Fascinating dude.


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