Shape of Things|
kate west review
written by neil labute, directed by dámasco
at the Balcony Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave.
contact the Furious Theatre Company (www.furioustheatre.org)
or call (626) 356-PLAY
running January 21 - February 20, 2005
and filmmaker Neil LaBute brings his trendy cynicism to Los Angeles audiences
once again in "The Shape of Things," now playing at the Balcony Theatre
college students meet and are immediately entwined in dramatic relationship scenarios
that play out in very unexpected ways. Of the four actors, Vonessa Martin, Brad
Price, Sara Hennessy and Shawn Lee (all co-founders of the Furious Theatre Company),
the men are much stronger than the women. Vonessa Martin as Evelyn, the co-ed
who seduces Adam (Brad Price), is rather stiff and mannered, unfortunately. Shawn
Lee, as Phillip, Adam's best friend, is the most engaging and dynamic, casually
tossing out lines designed to skewer, yet amuse. Neil LaBute's dialogue is an
acquired taste in the first place, as it is unrealistically stylized at times
and only works with an actor's strong delivery.
story is that Evelyn (Vonessa Martin) and Adam (Brad Price) meet and apparently
fall in love. Phillip (Shawn Lee) and Jenny (Sara Hennessy) also meet and fall
in love and the four of them parallel each other as they complicate each other's
lives. Misunderstandings and innuendoes ensue and in spite of the best of intentions,
each friend becomes increasingly disheartened, duplicitous and cruel. All four
characters grow up meanwhile, especially Adam, who goes from an awkward nail-biting
wallflower to a confident, stylish, wiser man.
unexpected conclusion is rather harsh and incredulous. To LaBute's credit, we
don't see this one coming, however, it may leave you cold. Dámasco Rodriguez's
directing is fine, the transitions smooth and actually entertaining, but the overall
story is rather bleak. Also, scenic Designer Melissa Teoh built a nice, white
set, which converts seamlessly into various scenes (coffee shop, museum, apartment,
etc.). Still, although the play is short, with no intermission, the final act
is a bit tedious and overly written. If you enjoy this type of cold introspection,
give it a try, but remember this is not a play for romantic hopefuls.