Friday, December 2, 2011



by Neil LaBute

Some Girls, a popular play by Neil LaBute, has had many productions in the last few years, including a London production starring David Schwimmer, and a New York production starring Eric McCormack.

Nunya Productions mounted a new production in a limited engagement in December 2011 with a new script by LaBute. There were hints that this new script may be headed for a new Broadway Production.

I rarely (actually, never) get asked  to give a playwright notes before a new script mounts a Broadway Production. And, in fact, of course, nobody asked me to do that now, either. But I will anyway.

Perhaps it will help the Broadway team! Most likely they will never see this (or want to). Or if they do, they'll ignore it with a hostile shrug.

I should say, first off, that the December Production by Nunya was very good. And I enjoyed it. And there were especially fine performances by Betty Kaplan, who was one of the most successfully sexy on-stage sexy gamin's I've seen, and Mariya King who perfectly navigated a treacherous role.

Robin Singer was exceptional, creating a standout, subtle, sophisticated, complex character. Bringing Robin to a Broadway Production could be creating the Breakout Actress who helps make the show an Event.

First, the Official Notice for the show, then the notes. WARNING: The notes contain spoilers!


by Neil LaBute

with Michael Scott King, Rebecca De Ornelas, Betty Kaplan, Jody Lyn Flynn,
Robin Singer, Mariya King

December 8 - 17, 2011

Presented by Nunya Productions
With The New Jersey Foundation For Dance and Theatre Arts

Sargent Theatre at The American Theater of Actors
314 W 54th St, 4th Floor,

A play to raise funds and awareness for To Write Love On Her Arms

Guy (Michael Scott King) pushing 40 and finally on the verge of getting married, decides to visit former girlfriends...

Robin Singer
Photo by Eric Roffman

These include the high school sweetheart Sam (Rebecca De Ornelas) he dumped just before prom night; a free-spirited sexual plaything, Tyler (Betty Kaplan); an older, fire-and-ice college professor, Lindsay (Jody Lyn Flynn); and the woman he really loved, Bobbi (Robin Singer).









   1. -- Nobody asked me for these notes.
   2. -- I'm no expert on LaBute's work or what he is trying to accomplish: so these opinions are based on what I would like to see, not what LaBute may be trying to accomplish in the play.


1- First of all, the play does not seem like a Broadway Play. It does not have elaborate sets. It does not have bursting-the-envelope action or scandal or revelations. It does not seem like either a Tourist Friendly or a Tourist Destination piece.

My first note, then, is that for the play to succeed on Broadway it should have bigger sets, big, big stars, a breakout new star, and be much more daring. (It could also run more safely in a somewhat smaller and trendier than Broadway venue.)

2a - The play still is (and, as noted by earlier reviews of earlier productions, used to be, as well), somewhat repetitive. As it now stands it consists of one Guy going from city to city, hotel room to hotel room, meeting old girl friends, one at a time.

It might be interesting to combine the first two characters (to eliminate one unnecessary repetition). It might be interesting to have each scene in a different kind of venue, to allow for more interesting set design and variation in style.

2b - The play has limited suspense. Currently we learn early on that the Guy is getting married. There is no clear reason why he should be visiting all the old girlfriends. There is a surprise in the next to last scene and a surprise in the last scene. But a surprise is not suspense. (Note: The twin sister bit is hokey.)

Some possibly interesting ideas would be to never make it clear whether the Guy is really getting married. And have scenes with his "fiance" in between the other scenes. It might be interesting to magnify the importance of the last woman by suggesting early on that visiting her may be the real reason for his expedition.

3 - Magnifying the importance of the last woman is also important because there have been at least two other plays which hang on a similar topic (How I Learned to Drive, by Paula Vogel and The Blackbird, by David Harrower). Indeed, the last scene, as written, has little suspense even within the scene, because as soon as the ages of the Guy and the girl are revealed, the point of the scene is foretold. The final scene needs to be more shocking, and to be more intimately related to everything that has gone before.

4a - One issue with the whole play is that it never really explains how this one Guy could have all these great women hanging on him. This suggests that for a commercial production it would be wise to have a super-star playing the Guy who is already known -- as himself in the public domain, and in the spirit of the character -- for being a major Ladies' Man.

4b - So, in the interest of Commercial Casting, it would be wise to have a cast something like this:

Guy -- A famous, sexy actor such as Fassbender, Duchovny, Ryan (Reynolds or Gosling) or Brad Pitt.

Paired with Brad Pitt, some trophy casting would be Angelina Jolie as the sexy girl. Other possibilities might be Penelope Cruz or perhaps another dark, sexy actress like Eva Green.

For the teacher/older woman, some intense older actor would be most interesting: Jodie Foster, Demi Moore, Kathleen Turner, Michelle Pfeiffer...

As Bobbi, Robin Singer should re-create her exceptional characterization. She could be the Breakout New Actress that helps make the Commercial Production an Event and Commercial Success!

As the younger woman for the final scene, one of the new very powerful younger actresses, such as Evan Rachel Wood or Kristen Stewart could create the role.

5 - By contemporary standards (think SHAME or THE SKIN I LIVE IN or STARZ' SPARTACUS) this play is very, very tame. Scenes with the sexy girl, the teacher, and new scenes with the fiance should be much more intense, daring, explicit, and carried much further. And the final scene should be truly shocking.

6 - One final thought... or question.  Who among the characters really cares about whom? And why?

So. That's my two cents. (Or noncents.) I don't expect anyone that's actually involved to ever see this or care or agree if they do read it. But I did get it off my chest.

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