We all love classic plays that have endured the test of time, but it’s refreshing to see a play that we can relate to in our time, and The Shape of Things feels like it. The cast of four, all students of McGill university in their early ’20s, will leave you with questions on art, morality, and relationships. The script by Neil Labute, and directed by Kyra Lightburn, has Ferelith Young as Evelyn, Scott Laczay is Adam, Jessica Mulvogue plays Jenny, and David Bly plays Philip.
Watching the cast of The Shape of Things rehearse, I saw energy surrounding these young people. And when they ended the scene, the director congratulated them on their performance before pointing out what they had to work on.
The character Evelyn sets on a mission to change Adam, her boyfriend. She transforms him, improving a nerdy guy to a more exciting, appealing, and desirable man, so he’s sort of a social complimentary. ” I think women are the ones who are confronted in a much more consistent basis and being judged aesthetically. In the play, my character is an artist who’s overbearing, making Adam uneasy, she represents a society that strives for perfection with pressure from billboards and magazines,”said Young.
Adam’s friends notice he’s changing, and they believe it’s for the better. But when they realize how dominant Evelyn is, they start fearing for the loss of his personality. “When he becomes aware of the changes, he also starts making decisions the way his friends now perceive him, the decisions that he wouldn’t have made before. There are hard-core changes. It’s about relationship expectations and people can relate to it,” said Laczay.
“We look at our peers and judge them as not cool. What is cool? Is it the media’s stereotype that detects how we should be or do we choose? The play pokes fun of things that the media reinforces in terms of what is cool and on how much value we put on perfection” said Mulvogue.
“Philip is obnoxious, makes rational decisions, but gives the best advice to Adam. My character and Evelyn are disliked and they tend to make statements the wrong way even though they’re intelligent,” said Bly
Evelyn, who also makes statements through art, is a complicated character. But she also liberates others in the process, and they all change before the end of the play. Lightburn promises visual presentation that will make the audience feel they’re part of the play. “We will confront everyone with as much art as possible and ask the question what is art? And is there a boundary between art and morality? At the same time, who’s to say what’s art? It also raises issues about subjective art censorship,” said Lightburn.
Lightburn agrees that theatre has never been as threatened as now with cinema and home entertainment, but believes that it will always be around because we are performance creatures. What makes theatre unique is that nothing comes between it and the audience, like in cinema where the director chooses what to show you through the camera.
With plays like The Shape of Things and its university setting, young people can come to appreciate theatre. She said that the beauty of the play is that it transcends university walls, as it examines themes that are approachable from any stage of life and in any setting.
“Theatre is writing in invisible ink, in the moment. You cannot rewind it, just like an act of life and is closely related to us making the face to face experience real and extraordinary,” said Mulvogue.
If you’re wondering how far we can sacrifice our individuality for perfection, or you think it’s ridiculous, this play is for you. They mentioned there’s a twist but it was not revealed to me, it’s for you to find out.
Show Dates: Nov 17-20 & 24-27, 2004
Box Office opens at 7:30 PM and all shows start at 8:00 PM
Location: Players Theatre, 3/F, 3480 McTavish
Tickets are $6 for students and seniors, and $8 for others.
For reservations or more information, please call 398-6813 or
email [email protected]