IN A DARK HOUSE Opens 7/26 at Matrix Theatre
Two estranged brothers face off in search of the truth about the troubled legacy of their shared past. Larry Moss directs the Los Angeles premiere of In A Dark Dark House by Neil LaBute, opening July 26 at the Matrix Theatre.
Aaron McPherson (A Million Ways to Die in the West), Shaun Sipos (The Vampire Diaries, Melrose Place) and Annie Chernecky (My Synthesized Life) star in LaBute's thought-provoking and challenging tragicomedy that explores the darker facets of human relationships and the covert, unwritten bonds that tie families together. Adapted from his short story, "Swallowing Bicycles," the playwright has called this powerful piece his most personal.
"This play is much closer to me than some of my others," he writes in an introduction to the published version. "It is still packed with fiction, much of the story leaping out of my active imagination, but there is a kernel of hard fact and truth at the center of the tale. I too grew up in a dark house, one that was shrouded with shadows and sadness, and I understand quite deeply what the brothers in the play are going through."
"As dark as the subject matter is, it also contains an amazing amount of hope and humor," says Moss. "There's nothing more fascinating than watching members of a family talking about their own dysfunction, and this play captures that in a wonderful way. This story of two adult children of abusive parents trying to find a way to mend the past through understanding each other's pain is, simply, beautifully written. I jumped at the chance to direct it."
In A Dark Dark House had its world premiere in 2007 at New York's Lucille Lortel Theater, produced by the MCC Theater where LaBute is Playwright-In-Residence. "'House' ranks with Mr. LaBute's best work for stage and screen," wrote Ben Brantley in The New York Times. The play opened at London's Almeida Theatre a year later in a production directed by Michael Attenborough. Working closely with Attenborough, LaBute created a substantially different version of the play for the London production, and that is the version that Broken Hand Productions brings to Los Angeles this July.
Neil LaBute is a prolific playwright and filmmaker. His other plays include Filthy Talk for Troubled Times; bash: latter day plays; The Shape of Things; The Distance From Here; The Mercy Seat; Autobahn; Fat Pig; This Is How It Goes; Some Girl(s); Wrecks; reasons to be pretty (his Broadway debut, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play); and, most recently, its sequel Reasons to Be Happy. For film, LaBute wrote and directed the Cannes Palme d'Or finalist Nurse Betty; Your Friends & Neighbors; The Shape of Things; In the Company of Men, for which he won the Independent Spirit Award and New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Feature; The Wicker Man; and Lakeview Terrace. He also directed the hit dark comedy Death at a Funeral. He is the author of various fictional pieces that have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Playboy, among others, A collection of his short stories, "Seconds of Pleasure," was published by Faber and Faber.
Larry Moss most recently directed the Australian Theatre Company's Los Angeles premiere of Holding the Man to stellar reviews ("a credit to veteran acting coach Larry Moss' nuanced direction" - Los Angeles Times; "his steady hand with the cast is evident throughout" - Hollywood Reporter). Perhaps best known for coaching Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning/nominated performances by actors such as Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets; Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby; and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Shutter Island, Inception, J Edgar, Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street, Moss also has extensive directing credits: Michael Raynor's Who is Floyd Stearn; Richard Kalinoski's Beast On The Moon; Jack Holmes's RFK (Drama League Award); John Osborne's Epitaph for George Dillon; Richard Vetere's How To Go Out On A Date In Queens; Richard Hellersen's Dos Corazones both as a play and film; the world premiere of Jam, a new musical, starring Clint Holmes; Josh Jonas's Capture Now Off-Broadway; I Love My Wife starring Jason Alexander at Reprise; and John Patrick Shanley's Beggars In The House Of Plenty at Theatre/Theater. He directed and developed Pamela Gien's The Syringa Tree, which won the Obie Award for Best Play, Drama Desk Award, Outer Circle Critics Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, a Drama League Honor and a nomination for the John Gassner Playwriting Award. Mr. Moss is scheduled to direct two feature films, Relative Insanity and Monty (a biopic about Montgomery Clift), in 2015 and 2016.
Set design for In A Dark Dark House is by John Iacovelli, lighting design is by Dan Reed, sound design is by Cricket S. Myers, props are by Ina Shumaker and Bruce Dickinson; and costume design is by Kim Overton. Christopher Basile is production stage manager, and Caitlin Renée Campbell produces for Broken Hand Productions.
In A Dark Dark House opens on July 26 and continues through Aug. 31, with performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. A Q & A with the cast will follow the matinee performances on July 27 and Aug. 3. There will be three preview performances, on Wednesday, July 23; Thursday, July 24; and Friday, July 25, all at 8 p.m. General admission is $34.99. The Matrix Theatre is located at 7657 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046 (west of Stanley Ave., between Fairfax and La Brea). For reservations and information, call 323-960-7612 or go to www.darkhousela.com. (Please note: In A Dark Dark House contains adult language and subject matter and is recommended for mature audiences.)