MICA’s Rivals of the West theater company gets better by the season. For one week more, catch these versatile art students + plucky company players perform two provocative works by Neil LaBute, one of America’s hottest and most controversial young playwrights. In two of his most celebrated plays, LaBute takes on beguiling questions, such as who decides what is beautiful—or rather, who is beautiful—and what is beauty?

All performances will be presented in BBOX, the College’s state-of-the-art black box theater located inside The Gateway, 1601 W. Mount Royal Ave. Tickets are available online, at the MICA bookstore, and at the box office.

In reasons to be pretty, a cast of four young working class friends and lovers become increasingly dissatisfied with their dead-end lives—and each other. Similar to FAT PIG, reasons to be pretty examines perceptions of beauty and asks whether it is as much of a curse to be conventionally attractive as it is to be considered ugly. Nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play, reasons to be pretty was LaBute’s first to be staged on Broadway, with an 85–performance run that lasted from April through June 2009 at the Lyceum Theatre. The play is currently at the Almeida Theater in London and will premiere at the Darlinghurst Theatre in Sydney, Australia in May. Shows 4/12 and 4/14.

FAT PIG is the clever but touching story of a stereotypical young professional named Tom who falls in love with a confident, plus-sized librarian named Helen. The play explores how society treats a romance between the two. After premiering off-Broadway at the MCC Theater in New York City in 2004, the play has been staged across the country and internationally at the Boston Center for the Arts, Trafalgar Studios in London, Teatro Nacional La Castellana in Bogota, Colombia, the Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley, Calif., and Teatro Procópio Ferreira in São Paulo, Brazil. There are plans in the works to bring the production to Broadway. Shows 4/13 and 4/15.

Both shows directed by Peter Shipley; produced by Christopher Shipley; with live music by Trevor Shipley.

Rivals of the West is a student-run performing arts team whose goal is to bring a theater tradition to the Maryland Institute College of Art. In addition to being visually skilled, many MICA students are also talented actors, directors, set designers, and lighting designers. We take advantage of all these skills in order to put on innovative and truly creative performances. MICA’s new Gateway Building features BBOX Theater, a flexible black box performance space. With our shows we aim to bring this space to its full potential.

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