The Shape of Things

Court One, Christchurch

17/02/2007 - 17/03/2007

Production Details

By Neil La Bute
Directed by Ross Jolly

How far would you go in the name of love? How far would you go in the name of art?

Totally besotted, how far will Adam, a Californian college student, go to become everything Evelyn wants? After all, good relationships involve sacrifice, right?

Acutely sharp and totally engrossing, THE SHAPE OF THINGS flagrantly toys with our obsession with surface image and challenges our belief in personal integrity. Are things ever exactly as we see them?

Fresh and outrageous theatre from America’s finest contemporary playwright. 

Simon Vincent
Danielle Mason
Jason Whyte
Heather O’Carroll

Theatre ,

Startling challenge to preconceptions

Review by Lindsay Clark 18th Feb 2007

Theatre goers in Christchurch have not had much excitement of late but suddenly this summer a startling and punchy play has arrived. As contemporary as tomorrow in its depiction of today’s love rituals, LaBute’s super-intelligent script dusts off the old questions about art, artists and their relationship to society as well. Under Ross Jolly’s assured direction, four young players bring them into sharp focus.

The initial conversation between Adam, a tentative young attendant (Simon Vincent) guarding a sculpture and Evelyn, a sassy young artist (Danielle Mason) intent on defacing it, sets up an interesting but hardly remarkable partnership. This is presently expanded to a foursome as the best buddy, macho type (Jason Whyte ) and his fiancée- sweetly-wholesome girl (Heather O’Carroll ) launch into a succession of engaging scenes, in various combinations and with assorted complications. Fragments of the past  unravel, peccadilloes and mini-betrayals gather momentum in a seemingly uncontrived reflection of real life.

It does not seem strange that the bashful Adam is urged on to a physical and emotional makeover in the paradise he and Evelyn seem to be enjoying. Suddenly the perspective shifts and the dislocation is breathtaking.

It would be unfair to reveal the circumstances of the final scene, but it wipes out our preconceptions as surely as an artist’s sleeve over a botched image and in the last moments of the play a strange tenderness emerges. After all the ordinary and extraordinary cut and thrust of the events we have seen, this mood change seals the experience as one to be remembered and re-pondered.

LaBute is quoted as saying, "People are pretty damn fascinating anyway, but put them together in couples and they are outright startling to behold. The play’s also a little bit about art, I guess – what is art and what isn’t. And how artists can’t help but share a little blood when they create." These are not new ideas in theatre, but questions about  what is useless in art or in relationships, decisions about what is worthy of attention and what is merely seeking attention are still being asked. This play is a refreshing reminder of the questions if not the answers.


Anna Dodgshun February 27th, 2007

I'd just like to point out that this play is actually on the Court One stage, not Court Two as the title implies! ____________ Corrected, and thank you! - JS

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