Autobahn A Short-Play Cycle

Neil LaBute; Introduction by the author

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

112 Pages



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Be it the medium for clandestine couplings, arguments, shelter, or ultimately transportation, the automobile is perhaps the most authentically American of spaces. In Autobahn, Neil LaBute's provocative new collection of one-act plays set within the confines of the front seat, the playwright employs his signature plaintive insight to great effect, investigating the inchoate apprehension that surrounds the steering wheel.

Each of these seven brief vignettes explores the ethos of perception and relationship—from a make-out session gone awry to a kidnapping thinly disguised as a road trip, from a reconnaissance mission involving the rescue of a Nintendo 64 to a daughter's long ride home after her release from rehab. The result is an unsettling montage that gradually reveals the scabrous force of words left unsaid while illuminating the delicate interplay between intention and morality, capturing the essence of Middle America and the myriad paths that cross its surface.


Praise for Autobahn

"There is no playwright on the planet these days who is writing better than Neil LaBute."—John Lahr, The New Yorker

"LaBute is the first dramatist since David Mamet and Sam Shepard—since Edward Albee, actually—to mix sympathy and savagery, pathos and power."—Donald Lyones, New York Post

"Perhaps it's time we stop thinking of LaBute as a mere provocateur, a label that condescends to an artist of grand ambtion and a nimble facility with language."—Jason Zinoman, Time Out New York

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


A YOUNG WOMAN sitting in the front seat of a car. An OLDER WOMAN seated next to her, driving.

YOUNG WOMAN ... it's all the same, you know? How it looks out...

Read the full excerpt


  • Neil LaBute; Introduction by the author

  • Neil LaBute is a critically acclaimed writer-director for both the stage and screen. His works include the plays The Distance from Here and bash: latterday plays and the films In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty, and Possession, as well as the play and film adaptation of The Shape of Things.