Neil LaBute is no stranger to the darker side of human nature. In The Shape of Things, that darkness is undeniably there, but it’s simmering just underneath the surface until it boils over in a gut-punch ending. The four-character play explores how far someone is willing to go and how much they change for who (or what) they love. Two intertwined couples make up the story: the dating Evelyn and Adam and the engaged Phillip and Jenny. Evelyn is a graduate art student and Adam is an undergraduate English student at the same college who also works at a nearby museum as a security guard. Adam is a stereotypical nerdy guy--he’s an English literature major who has an appreciation for art and hasn’t had luck with women. He falls in love with Evelyn and willingly begins changing his physical appearance at her insistence. At first, it’s little things like losing some weight and letting his hair grow out. Then it becomes plastic surgery and cutting out his closest friends, all for what he thinks is the perfect relationship. But in life, like in art, appearances can be deceiving, and the truth is finally revealed in a gut-wrenching ending. Sometimes darkly funny and always gripping, The Shape of Things is a fascinating character study into the nature of love and art, and what happens when the two collide.
The Shape of Things guide sections