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The Mercy Seat

The Mercy Seat
Your Price: $17.50 CDN
Author: Neil LaBute
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 96
Pub. Date: 2003
ISBN-10: 0571211380
ISBN-13: 9780571211388

About the Play:

The Mercy Seat is a full-length drama by Neil LaBute. Set on September 12, 2001, a man and a woman explore the choices now available to them in an existence different from the one they had lived just the day before.

The Mercy Seat continues the author's unflinching fascination with the often-brutal realities of the war between the sexes. In a time of national tragedy, the world changes overnight. Ben Harcourt finds himself in the downtown apartment of his lover, Amy Prescott. Over the course of the night, Ben and Amy explore the choices now available to them in an existence different from the one they knew just the day before. Neil LaBute explores whether one can be truly opportunistic in a time of universal selflessness.

Cast: 1 woman, 1 man

What people say:

"There is no playwright on the planet these days who is writing better than Neil LaBute… The Mercy Seat is… the work of a master." — The New Yorker

"An intelligent and thought-provoking drama that casts a less-than-glowing light on man's dark side in the face of disaster…. The play's energy lies in LaBute's trademark scathing dialogue." — Daily News

"Though set in the cold, gray light of morning in a downtown loft with inescapable views of the vacuum left by the twin towers, The Mercy Seat really occurs in one of those feverish nights of the soul in which men and women lock in vicious sexual combat, as in Strindberg's Dance of Death and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" — The New York Times

"[A] powerful drama…. LaBute shows a true master's hand in gliding us amid the shoals and reefs of a mined relationship." — New York Post

"Uncomfortable yet fascinating…. The Mercy Seat makes for provocative theater — sharp, compelling and more than a little chilling." — Newsday

"LaBute's intriguing… new play… is most compelling when it is daring to look into [a] character's heart to explore the way self-interest, given the opportunity, can swamp all our nobler instincts." — Variety

"In The Mercy Seat… LaBute has given us his most compelling portrait of male inner turmoil." — Financial Times (U.K.)

"LaBute [is] the dark shining star of stage and film morality." — Newsday

"Sharply funny and incisive Seat is not a response to September 11, but a response to the response to September 11 — an emotionally jarring consideration of the self-serving exploitation of tragedy for personal gain…. Perhaps it's time we stop thinking of LaBute as a mere provocateur, a label that condescends to an artist of grand ambition and a nimble facility with language. With this gripping… new drama, he probes deeper than he ever has before." — TimeOut New York

"A nihilistic yet brutally honest work…. As complex and unfathomable as human motivations…. The Mercy Seat is haunting." — Backstage

"LaBute risks offending contemporary sensibilities by using a historic tragedy as his turning point for a drama regarding a morally empty American…. [The Mercy Seat is] controversial and compelling." — The Star-Ledger

"LaBute… is holding up a pitiless mirror to ourselves. We may not like what we see, but we can't deny that — if only in some dark corner of our soul — it is there." — The Journal News

About the Playwright:

Neil LaBute is an award-winning American playwright, filmmaker, and screenwriter. His plays include bash, Reasons to be Pretty (Tony Award nominated for best play), In a Forest, Dark and Deep, and Reasons to be Happy. His films include In the Company of Men (New York Critics' Circle Award for Best First Feature and the Filmmaker Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival), Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty, Possession, The Shape of Things, Some Velvet Morning, and Dirty Weekend. He is a 2013 recipient of a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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