Art can be cruel, beautifully cruel.
In a world of complex relationships, The Shape of Things takes us into a place of lies, manipulation, and creation. A play Written by Neil LaBute and directed by Stacy Johnson and performed at Bruka Theater, The Shape of Things runs through March 26th.
A shy young man is taken into the arms of a manipulative sociopath with the intention of manipulation for her own self-indulgent purposes.
The Shape of Things follows this young man as he falls for this woman who teaches him many lessons he will not soon forget. As the two of them explore a deeply dramatic relationship, his friends look on to what is sure to be a dramatic conclusion. I do have to say the ending did take me by surprise and I do not want to give it away.
The actors create a chemistry that draws you into the story, as I watched the play and followed the art of manipulation I was drawn into the chemistry of the main characters played by Jamie Woodham and Ian Sorenson. Jamie played the cold, manipulative woman with ease and for me I found myself reluctantly liking the character. Ian played his role of the shy young man to a tee as his character transformed.
There was a feeling that the young man was gaining a strength that may serve him well, sometime in his future. As for the other couple in this play, the shy young man’s friends played by Sophie Moeller and Ryan Kelly, I did wish that we could have seen more of them. These are two very fine actors that I feel could have had a bigger presence. Overall a very solid job of acting and directing, The Shape of Things is a true pleasure to watch.
The set is creative and makes wonderful use of the small stage. The set elements are cleverly part of every scene in a way I have never experienced before, holding true to the feeling that the play takes place in a work of art leading us to the ultimate revelation. The one thing that could have been a bit more dramatic is the elements of the young man’s transformation at the end, the things that were such a part of the shy young man taken away to create the stronger man. As usual with Bruka productions the lighting was seamless and integrated into the production, setting the stage with emotion and clarity.
I had a great time seeing the Shape of Things. This is a very solid production that offers an opportunity to examine some of the dynamics of relationships. There is a twist that made me happy, if not a bit uncomfortable as well.
You should see this play if you are looking for a fun evening and wish to be reminded of how the human desire for love, appreciation, and understanding can lead us to places that may be quite disturbing.
For more information check out Bruka’s website: http://www.bruka.org/