“Neil LaBute is arguably the best playwright writing in the USA today,” says Mary McCluskey, one of the founding members of the new theatre company Theatre Jezebel; she is speaking about the writer of their first production: Autobahn.
Originally produced as a benefit performance in 2004, Autobahn is a collection of vignettes set in the front seat of a car. Each segment not only differs in its cast of characters but also in style and temperament, resulting in a collage that many critics and audiences have called unsettling and provocative.
Speaking about LaBute’s writing style, McCluskey says that he “explores the human condition and relationships using bittersweet, and sometimes savage, language. At times we are sympathetic to his characters, at other times we are shocked and disgusted.”
For this UK premier, McCluskey teamed with Kenny Miller to direct. Miller is also designing the production, which is being produced by Anne McCluskey. All three are the founding members of Theatre Jezebel, which, according to their mission statement, was established “to create memorable theatrical experiences for audiences by using the wealth of talent within Scotland to produce distinct reworkings of classic texts and unique interpretations of contemporary plays.”
Speaking about directing a play set within a car, Mary McCluskey calls the challenge “liberating for both actors and directors” and goes on to say that the writing “forces us to concentrate on text and performance.” And though the production is a collection of unconnected plays, she believes that each “has its own value as a piece of relevant contemporary theatre.”
Originally written for The Skinny
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