The producers of Neil LaBute's latest play, " Reasons to Be Pretty," will hold an open casting call Thursday looking for "real people, with real bodies...(no professional models)" to be photographed for the production's advertising campaign. Fans of the writer-director-playwright may have reason to be dubious.
The cynical (and perhaps slightly schizoid) stage and screen work of LaBute — critics, though not the box office, took notice of his films "In the Company of Men" and "Your Friends and Neighbors" — has been characterized as everything from genius to pedantic and abrasive to misogynist and "anti-misogynist." David Edelstein called his films "toxic" and "the all-time-champion worst dating movies."
"Reasons to Be Pretty" is the third play in LaBute's trilogy addressing body image issues. The others "The Shape of Things" (also adapted for the screen) and "Fat Pig" have been provocative, to say the least, and, at times, savage. The latest chapter, an MCC Theater production, premiered at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in the West Village in May, and is now making the move to Broadway at the Lyceum where it will open in March. This marks the sixth collaboration between LaBute and the MCC, of which LaBute is the resident playwright.
Details on the casting call and more about the production can be found at the play's website DoesThisPlayMakeMeLookFat. Those who audition need to be willing to show their bodies and tell a short story about a body part they're insecure about. Bernard Telsey, one of the producers of "Reasons to Be Pretty," says, "We’re looking for real people of all body types to help us create a campaign that expresses what this play is about."
So...it's "American Idol" for the deformed?