BASH: LATTERDAY PLAYS by Neil LaBute, directed by Wayne Ward, with Shannon Black, John Gordon and Chris Whitby. Presented by the Bash Co-op at Artword (75 Portland). Runs to April 13, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $22-$25, Sunday pwyc-$17. 416-366-7723. Rating: NNN
There's enough nastiness in Bash's three short pieces to ensure that playwright Neil LaBute (The Shape Of Things, In The Company Of Men) was censured by his Mormon elders. What he's created, in fact, is a trio of well-written horror stories largely based on Greek myths.In the first, a man (John Gordon) tells a pickup about the death of his infant daughter, and in the storytelling process looks for expiation. The second, two versions of a couple's (Shannon Black and Chris Whitby) trip to a big New York party, contrasts the pair's anticipations and phobias about sex. The last looks at a woman (Black) who, years after a sleazy relationship, takes revenge on her public-school teacher.
Not all the pieces hit their mark -- Gordon could create a stronger atmosphere for his tale -- but director Wayne Ward paces them nicely, notably in the give-and-take monologues of the middle tale, where violence emerges as both a turnoff and a turn-on. Black's work in the final play, the one that lingers after the lights come on, has a quiet and scary poignancy.