Friday, January 27, 2017

The Shape of Things

When I left the Lab Theatre in Wright Hall on the UCD campus after seeing a fine production of Neil LaBute’s “The Shape of Things,” directed by Gregory Holmes, my first thought was: “How in the world can I review this show?”

To discuss most of the plot is to destroy the discovery that audience members will make during the 90-minute one-act play.

And so I will try to be obtuse, but still give it the attention it deserves.

Taylor Church is Adam, a somewhat nerdy grad student working two jobs to put himself through school. One of his jobs is as a guard in the campus art museum.

Melissa Cunha is Evelyn, a free spirit, an art student working on a performance-art project, who has come to the museum to deface a statue she believes has been ruined by moralistic faculty members.
In trying to convince her not to use her can of spray paint, Adam finds himself attracted to her, and, despite his reticent nature, he ends up taking her out for coffee.

Out of this, a relationship begins to grow. Because of his feelings for her, so contrary to her open, almost amoral nature, he finds himself wanting to please her and begins to make improvements in himself.

The couple meet Adam’s old roommate Philip (Emile Rappaport), a brash, outspoken man who bristles at Evelyn’s ideas. They are oil and water, and an immediate animosity exists between them.
Philip’s fiancée Jenny (Kelly Tappan) is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken woman, interested in planning their upcoming wedding.

The four actors give excellent performances, particularly Cunha and Church, as they examine the meaning of friendship, loyalty, manipulation, love, betrayal and what constitutes “art.”

The scenic design of Elizabeth Kang consists of a series of white blocks, creatively assembled to represent tables, chairs and beds, each of which quite believable (who needs real furniture when you can work so creatively with blocks?)

The costume designs of Colleen Smith are particularly good, especially for what she does with Adam.
The mood is beautifully created by the lighting design of William Ebler.

As the play comes to an end, audience members will leave the theater talking about what just happened and how they feel about it.

People considering attending this show should be aware that it contains adult language and adult situations and is not suitable for children.

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