Four Muskingum University students are performing in an adaptation of screenwriter and playwright, Neil LaBute’s, “The Shape of Things” Nov. 17-20 in the Sandra Wolfe Thompson Theatre in Philip and Betsey Caldwell Hall.
Instructor of Theatre and play director, Jimmy Bohr, said he loved the play when he watched it in New York in 2003.
“Neil LaBute is just a brilliant writer,” said Bohr. “He writes what is seemingly very banal conversation, but that is infused and there is so much going on beneath that. I think that’s the way a lot of very contemporary relationships work. He gets that in such a profound way.”
Bohr said the play will look at various aspects of what exactly art is and explores human relationships.
“This play specifically really questions the nature of art,” said Bohr, adding the play questions how far someone is willing to go for art. “At the same time, I think it also looks at… what any of us will do to be loved and the lengths some people will go to be loved and to feel loved.”
Bohr said that the play “holds a mirror up” to our culture and the various aspects associated with it.
“I don’t think it answers any questions, but I think it asks questions and challenges the audience to find their own answers,” said Bohr, “Which is kind of a hallmark of what contemporary theater does.”
Muskingum sophomore Jacob Proctor will be playing the role of Adam Sorenson. Proctor said Bohr encouraged him to try out for the role.
“He said that I had a lot of potential to grow as an actor and that this would be the best opportunity to do so,” said Proctor. “I can’t think of a time since [my] freshman year of high school where I was not acting while I was doing academics, so it just seems natural to me to do it.”
Proctor said, similar to Bohr, he too loves LaBute’s methods as a playwright and agrees with Bohr’s opinion.
“Every single word used, every single word written and given to a character is extremely important and very specific,” said Proctor. “To the end of the play, you see how every small piece has contributed to this greater web and a massive revelation at the end.”
Proctor said he believes the play will deliver a powerful message to a diverse audience.
“No matter who you are, where you come from, what your background is, you are who defines yourself,” said Proctor. “Not your church, not your parents, not your friends, not the people you love, but you. At the end of the day, you can give all the excuses you want, but you are the one who decided how to live your life.”
Other members of the cast include senior Olivia Brown as Evelyn Thompson, senior Mallory Fischer as Jenny, and senior Adam Livingston as Phillip.