Profiles Theatre (see Resident companies). By Neil LaBute. Dir. Joe Jahraus. With Darrell W. Cox.
The inability of the heterosexual male to mature is a dilemma with no lack of creative observers at the moment. In film, Wes Anderson and Alexander Payne keep tabs on the situation. In the novel, Nick Hornby and David Foster Wallace cover the bases. In the theater, alas, we have Neil LaBute, a man who demonstrates the inability to mature not through the way he crafts his plays, but rather the way he neglects to craft them.
In Some Girl(s), a 33-year-old walking tool—with a job no less clichéd than a short-story writer, and a fiancée about whom we know nothing—travels to visit four of his ex-girlfriends in four different cities to achieve…something. Each encounter lasts conveniently about 20 minutes and takes place conveniently in identical rooms in the same hotel franchise. Even the women he’s spent his life screwing speak in conveniently expository sentences. (“Remember when we used to meet in this hotel room and have sex between classes?” his former professor asks, as if that collegiate memory might have escaped him.) That the four scenes are essentially chronologically interchangeable despite the women’s different backstories says everything. (Though bodacious Jessie Fisher makes a splash as a party girl ex.)
For a production as polished as this Profiles offering, it’s strangely tough to watch, mainly because leading man Cox, whose uncannily natural style has been riveting in the past (as in LaBute’s vastly superior Fat Pig), has nowhere to go in a dramatically inert script. He mostly just stands there, like LaBute’s shrugging straw man. —Christopher Piatt