Carroll University staged a taut production of one of Neil
LaBute’s controversial plays, “The Shape of Things,”
where the playwright explores intimate relationships and the
nature of art and the supposed privileges of the artist.
student-directed and presented in a very small space, the play
very much involves us in the drama as Evelyn, precisely
portrayed by Carly Sauer, works out her “project” for her
characters tell the story - Evelyn, the bold artist, Adam, the
rather gullible young man she meets in an art gallery, and
Adam’s fellow students and friends, Phil and Jenny, who are
a couple, contemplating marriage.
Carroll Players’ rendering of the story, Phil is played by a
woman, which really doesn’t change the story much but
conveys an interesting twist on the complexity of
known for creating delicate situations that make his audience
uncomfortable. He forces us to look at human behaviors, even
our own, and squirm at many of them. We didn’t like Evelyn a
whole lot. We saw that she was deceptive and led Adam on for
her own purposes. She tried to change him, but who among us
hasn’t tried to change a child, a friend, a spouse for our
own purposes and comfort?
is nicely delineated by the four talented young actors.
Sam Burns was especially affecting as Evelyn’s dupe
in her sculpting masterpiece. We sensed that he was the
perfect fodder as prey for the clever artist who lacked moral
sensitivity, and yet the irony is that he was really better
off for the experience of having been “shaped” by her.
Jenny parallel the theme of vulnerability we all come to learn
of in intimate relationships and the fear of commitment that
any honest person will admit to having experienced before
making the big step. The fact that fewer and fewer people are
getting married these days perhaps attests to those
The use of
videos was very effective in conveying an intimate scene
without making the actors or audience too uncomfortable. It
also provided a very poignant ending, leaving us all wondering
what Evelyn shared with Adam in her one honest moment.
liked the contrast between Phil and Jenny, which in some ways
mirrored the Evelyn-Adam combo. Jenny was more innocent, more
trusting and less manipulative than Evelyn or Phil.
Furseth (Jenny) and Montana Mariscal (Phil) captured that
director Tricia Himmler and her competent crew for giving us a
searing theatrical experience.
Carroll offering is on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17 when the players
tackle the often-neglected Dickens piece, “The Mystery of
Edwin Druid” in musical form.
If you’ve never explored Carroll University’s
productions, you’re missing out on a rich source of artistic
output that is readily available to our community.