The Shape of Things:
“The Shape Of Things” – by Neil LaBute- is a terrifying yet true tale about the way people can control us and the reasons we just let them do it. Although it expleores the arrogance and façade of art, it also explores the universal and controversial idea of “change if you love me”, and how the exterior, the physical appearance can both positively and negatively impact confidence, and as a byproduct, either encourage faithful or unfaithful behavior.
The black comedy of the play arises from the moral uncertainty wherein the audience is asked the rhetoric question “is it right to change someone for the sake of art?” The students that it was morally wrong to manipulate people for the sake of art. This concept was widely agreed upon by the year 12 Drama class as morally wrong, yet there were some students that pointed out the reality of social situations. They pointed out the fact that everyone behaves differently according to who they are surrounded by.
The fact that it was morally wrong I believe, made the students even more susceptible to the grand theme which titles the play. For example, within a few pages of the script, the class stopped reading, pondering the multiple meanings that can be drawn from the title: form, design, art, sex, "things" and the possibility of a moral order and moral absolutes. The play brings up many such moral questions, surrounding relationships and the extent to which one can go for the sake of art: What is the place of ideas and intellectual experimentation in the creation and fostering of an intimate relationship? Are there boundaries that must be respected even if truth is sacrificed in the process? Does art illuminate or camouflage the reality of a relationship? Is Evelyn a catalyst or an agitator? Is her commitment to art part of her persona or its sum total? These questions are increasingly explored in the play, and although ready answers are given in the script, the play proves to be a...
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