Reasons to Be Pretty at the Two Roads Theater
Written by Neil LaBute
Directed by Jeffrey Meek
Imagine this scenario if you will… you and your best friend are mindlessly talking about nothing, and somehow this mindless talk gets around to you comparing your girlfriend/boyfriend’s physical attributes unfavorably to someone you all know. This idiocy is overheard by your girlfriend/boyfriend’s best friend who then immediately passes it on to them…of course…
Brutal. And truly a situation that is disturbingly possible for each and every one of us.
“Reasons to Be Pretty” is a well-loved play whose main premise is how much importance we all place on beauty, regardless of how unintentional and disastrous it may be, and how our tempers and what we think of as our innate right to do or say anything when pushed, can sometimes be the mistake we can never return from.
The folks at http://www.thecollectivestudiola.com certainly consider this material to be relevant enough to produce not only “Reasons to Be Pretty” but also the sequel, “Reasons to Be Happy,” with the same cast days later.
It’s a terrific play, full of absolute truth, in all its uncomfortable and sickening glory. The characters Greg and Steph, whose worlds are torn apart by this series of events are played with energy and fierce commitment by Nick Molari and Lexi Graboski. Their ‘friends’ are played brilliantly by Eric Olsen as Kent, an overbearing and loudly insecure lout, and Sarah Jo Jones as his long suffering Carly, who we hope finds a way out of her miserable relationship.
It’s what we find familiar that makes this play work, and how easily we can identify with all these characters is what makes this play just as relevant now as when it premiered Off Broadway five years ago.
Finding ourselves in places we never thought we would, whether it’s a dead-end job or a dead-end relationship, is a cold reality for us all at some point in our lives. When humor can’t get us passed the obvious, drama can. This play is a clever mixture of the two, with the humor biting deeper and deeper until finally blood is drawn and worlds shift as they should.
This is a really well done production with great attention to detail. What producers Lexi Graboski and Kelly Shea take on in putting both plays up is a kind of performance event in a way and demands attention. Taking great material and engineering performances and productions around the importance of them, is a brave and worthwhile thing. Which is why it’s important to add that they are donating the proceeds from all the performances to The Center for Nonviolent Communication…good for them…and us all!
I highly recommend “Reasons to Be Pretty” and “Reasons to Be Happy.” This is a play not only for millennials, but for those of us who have crossed lines, deeply regretted, angrily found hurtful truths and pushed passed the limits of kindness and consideration. It’s worth remembering that just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should.
This limited run will begin with “Reasons to Be Pretty” showing from Friday, November 11 – Sunday, November 13, 2016 with its companion piece “Reasons to Be Happy” starting the next week from Friday, November 18 – Sunday, November 20, 2016 at the Two Roads Theater in Los Angeles – 4348 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604. Friday and Saturday shows will start at 8pm with Sunday shows beginning at 7pm.