The Shape of Things

Opens March 18th 8pm
Runs Fridays and Saturdays

The Actors Playpen
1514 N. Gardener St.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Ovation Award Eligible

In a modern version of Adam’s seduction by Eve, The Shape of Things pits gentle, awkward, overweight Adam against experienced, analytical, amoral Evelyn, a graduate student in art. After a chance meeting at a museum, Evelyn and Adam embark on an intense relationship that causes shy and principled Adam to go to extraordinary lengths, including cosmetic surgery, and a betrayal of his best friend, to improve his appearance and character. In the process, Evelyn’s subtle and insistent coaching results in a reconstruction of Adam’s fundamental moral character. Only in a final and shocking exhibition does Evelyn reveal the nature of her interest in Adam, of her detached artist’s perspective and sense of authority—to her, Adam is no more than “flesh…. one of the most perfect materials on earth. Natural, beautiful, and malleable.” Labute’s latest work is an intense and disturbing study not only of the uses of power within human relationships, but also of the ethics involved in the relationship of art and life. To what extent is an artist licensed to shape and change her medium or to alter the work of another artist? What is acceptable artistic material? At what point does creation become manipulation, and at what point does creation destroy? Or, is the new Adam, handsome and confident if heart broken, an admirable result of the most challenging artistic endeavor? The Shape of Things challenges society’s most deeply entrenched ideas about art, manipulation, and love.

Veronique Ory
J.R. Nutt*
Daniel Wisler
Emily Happe

Playwright: Neil LaBute
Director: Scott Schutzman

Click to read the full review

“Director Scott Schutzman masterfully guides the plot to its unsettling climax, and his ingenious use of movable flats and backgrounds often give a claustrophobic feel to the area, as if symbolizing the entrapment that slowly surrounds Adam…. Author Neil LaBute has been praised and vilified at various times, and this production is an excellent example of why his work elicits extreme reactions. When you see this play you will either love it or hate it, but the performances and the presentation insure that ambivalence is not an operative alternative. ” – Reviewplays