The Shape Of Things By Neil Labute

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The Shape Of Things By Neil Labute


In his play “The Shape of Things,” Neil Labute explores the boundaries that exist within human relationships. Adam and Evelyn meet in an art museum where Evelyn; offended by the alterations made to censor a nude male statue, is caught by Adam in attempt of defacing this particular censorship. As it turns out, the two begin dating and eventually Evelyn begins making changes to Adam's appearance, treating him as if he is her own art piece. With the help of Evelyn, Adam becomes more confident, self-assured and takes on a better self image. However, the play ends with a huge twist, when Evelyn reveals that not only does she not love Adam but she used him solely as a part of her thesis project. Furthermore, certain changes may have benefitted Adam for the better. However, the unethical boundaries crossed by Evelyn only point in one direction, her own self-empowerment for perfection. One might argue that Labute's play explores the relationship between art and moral beliefs by exploiting intimacy and manipulation through gendered relationships . Evelyn refuses to conform to any social, artistic or sexual boundaries, while Adam on the other hand, fails to have any knowledge of such existing boundaries. These two factors, along with Evelyns freedom to express attitude contribute to the moral uprising that becomes present in the lives of Evelyn and Adam.


Adam, a gawky college student and part-time security guard, has his life turned around when he meets Evelyn, a sexy, sophisticated artist, as she plans to deface a statue. Their relationship begins to blossom, and Adam himself undergoes a transformation to evoke the potential Evelyn sees in him. Yet Adam's friends, as well as Evelyn's darkest secret, threaten to destroy Adam to his very foundations as he finds that even love and faith have their price, and after paying them, the shape of things to come will forever be in doubt. (Labute, pp. 45-51)

Neil LaBute received his Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing from New York University and was the recipient of a literary fellowship to study at the Royal Court Theatre, London. He also attended the Sundance Institute's Playwrights Lab and is the Playwright-in- Residence with MCC Theatre in New York City.LaBute's plays include: bash: latter-day plays, The Shape of Things, The Mercy Seat, The Distance From Here, Autobahn, Fat Pig (Olivier Award nominated for Best Comedy), Some Girl(s), This Is How It Goes, Wrecks, Filthy Talk for Troubled Times, In a Dark Dark House, Reasons to Be Pretty (Tony Award nominated for Best Play) and The Break of Noon. In the spring of 2011 his play In a Forest, Dark and Deep premiered in London's West End. LaBute is also the author of Seconds of Pleasure, a collection of short fiction which was published by Grove Atlantic.His films include In the Company of Men (New York Critics' Circle Award for Best First Feature and the Filmmaker Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival), Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse ...