Manipulation, betrayal, human frailty, unthinking violence -- playwright Neil LaBute uses these blunt instruments more like a surgeon's scalpel to strip away the safety and comfort of the audience out there in the dark. LaBute's crackling dialogue and his ability to stare unflinchingly into our guts makes his plays something of a trial for the audience; there are few happy endings and fewer warm moments, but you don't come out the other side unaffected by the honesty of his work. St. Louis Actors Studio presents Just Desserts, a unique collaboration with Mr. LaBute comprising four one-act plays and two monologues, some of it brand-new material written expressly for this project. Just Desserts is performed at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (June 3 through 19) at the Gaslight Theatre (358 North Boyle Avenue; 314-458-2978 or www.stlas.org). Tickets are $20 to $25.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: June 3. Continues through June 19, 2011