Makeup wakeup call

LaBute offers moral lessons on beauty, social politics

NEW YORK — Neil LaBute had his big ruler out again Wednesday night for the world premiere of his “Fat Pig” at the Lucille Lortel Theater. Moral lessons of beauty, social politics and sexual attraction abounded on stage, but apparently the playwright, who was not in attendance, forgot to rap his actresses’ lovely knuckles before he flew away on biz to L.A. Despite the play’s big message, Keri Russell and Ashlie Atkinson lavished the usual 60 minutes-plus on post-curtain hair and makeup before arriving at the Robert Miller Gallery after-party.

In the meantime, Jeremy Piven revealed that LaBute fave Aaron Eckhart no longer had a monopoly on the playwright’s studs.

“It’s good to play the good-looking guy,” he said. “I am so used to playing the acerbic best friend.”

When Russell finally arrived in stiletto heels and drop-dead black, she pooh-poohed the image thing. Even in her “Felicity” days, “I was never part of that scene. I drove a pickup truck,” she recalls. Now living in New York City, Russell also claims not to be one of those transplanted TV thesps who always wanted to do theater but just never got around to it.

“I’ve read a lot of plays, classics too,” she says. “But ‘Fat Pig’ is the first I wanted to do.”

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