Presented during Open Fist Theatre Company’s Fourth Annual First Look Festival, Ten Weeks of New Plays and Music, “Short Ends” explores infidelity, sexuality, race, class and loss, with La Bute’s signature taut and affecting writing style. Directed by Amanda Weier, you’ll laugh, wince, relate and ponder. This is quintessential Neil LaBute.
Performances begin this Friday and Saturday, July 13th and 14th at 8pm and Sunday July 15th at 2pm. Additional dates are Sundays July 22nd and 29th at 2pm Saturday, July 28th at 8pm and Saturday August 4th at 2pm and 8pm.
One of LaBute's mini plays in Short Ends is called "Sexting" and stars local resident, Maxie Solters. Originally a 2010 short film featuring Julia Stiles, “Sexting” is making its stage premiere.
Solters reveals that her character’s arc entails expressions of heartache, confusion, anger, betrayal, and vulnerability. Many people have been in similar situations surrounding relationships and therefore, will relate to the story.
According to Solters, “It's a place of insanity really. When you feel strongly about a lover and lose sight of what makes sense and what is true, you’re often willing to go to any lengths to find peace and closure.”
Maxie was honored to be offered a role created by such a prestigious author. She was hesitant to accept because she wanted to make sure she’d do justice to LaBute’s wonderfully written script.
“His prose are so specific and compelling, I thought it was important to be as close to word perfect as possible.” Maxie admits, that in the end, “It’s been tremendously rewarding!”
Solters is extremely proud to be a member of the Open Fist Theatre Company. She considers it a “home away from home” and calls the troupe “my family.” The New Works Festival is her favorite time of the OFTC season. “We get to appear in exciting and innovative shows.”
Maxie acknowledges that the energy among the ensemble is always at its optimum during this period. She admires the group’s passion in contributing to an endeavor that “brings a unique dimension and color to the artistic environment.”
Playwright LaBute is famous for his controversial looks at gender, class, race and critical examinations of the institutions that protect, destroy and define us. LaBute’s first major success, In the Company of Men (1997), won the Sundance Filmmaker's trophy, as well as awards for LaBute's screenplay and Aaron Eckhart's performance.
Other film credits as director/writer are: Your Friends and Neighbors (1998), Nurse Betty (2000), Possession (2002), The Shape of Things (2003), The Wicker Man (2006), and Sexting (2010).
LaBute is equally celebrated for his theatrical ventures, frequently moving between film and stage. His plays have produced on Broadway, off-Broadway, and regionally across the country, i.e. The Shape of Things, Fat Pig, reasons to be pretty, Autobahn, The Mercy Seat, and Bash.
His show, The New Testament, had its world premiere at The Open Fist in 2009, during the inaugural year of the Festival.
"I've been lucky enough to work with the Open Fist for several years now,” remarks LaBute. He’s confident his creations will be “given a high quality production and reach a thoughtful and adventurous audience.”
Neil describes The Open Fist as the “best kind of theater company” and what continues to attract him to the stage. He calls them “a team of professionals who keep pushing themselves” to venture into territory that isn’t just surprising, but “vital and necessary to the community they live in."
Director Weier’s credits include: A Life of Ease and the critically acclaimed West Coast Premieres of Autobahn and Blue Night in the Heart of the West. Amanda also served as Assistant Director for the World Premiere of Frank Zappa’s Joe's Garage.
Amanda’s acting credits are: Second City This Week, A Wolf Inside the Fence, Room Service, Stage Door (LA WEEKLY nom. Best Actress) and The Normal Child (Best of Fringe nom). You can catch her August 9th – September 8th in Open Fist Festival’s, Nobody Likes Jews When They’re Winning, by Maia Madison.
Weier’s credits as a writer are STRAY (2nd place Slamdance & Skyline) and Goose- Stepping with Bound Feet. Amanda graduated from Northwestern, is an alum of Directors Lab West, and holds a certificate in directing from The Royal Court.