The CSUN Theater Department is premiering Neil La Bute’s ‘The Shape of Things’ this weekend as part of their Studio Lab Series.
‘The Shape of Things’ focuses on a nerdy college student named Adam, who meets Evelyn, an artist, and becomes smitten with her. Throughout their relationship, Evelyn asks Adam to change things about himself, including his hair, his clothes and even his friends, Jenny and Philip. However, as the story continues, Evelyn’s intentions seem anything but sincere.
Rehearsals began six weeks ago at the beginning of the semester for the small cast of four: Adam (Jim Miller), Evelyn (Gia Cognata), Jenny (Katherine Johnson) and Philip (Ryan Jordan).
“The cast is so dedicated. They learned their lines the first week,” said Amy Oliveira, director of the play. The show will also feature an original score by Adam Finkle, a theater major.
“It comes from a beautiful and exhausting process, that makes me glad to go to CSUN where an undergraduate is getting the opportunity to direct a play,” said Oliveira.
“It allows theater students to work on an area we care about.”
Last year, when they were putting together the season, it was announced that there was going to be one show that was student-directed, said Oliveira.
Students who wanted the chance to direct sent in scripts of their choice. After the interviewing process, “I was the one who was selected. This is an incredibly exciting moment for me.”
“I’ve been a big fan of the author for five or six years,” said Miller (Adam).
Miller’s character is not one he is used to playing. Adam is nerdy and socially awkward and Miller has become accustomed to characters that are just the opposite.
“It’s a dream role,” though he said.
This is the first play that Johnson (Jenny) has ever auditioned. “The rehearsals were really interesting. It was a great process,” she said. “It has definitely been a learning experience.”
The play asks three important questions of its audience, Oliveira said. The story functions as a mirror and leaves people questioning, “What shapes me?”, “Does universal truth exist?”, and “Should an artist have responsibilities?”
Budgets for plays included in the Studio lab Series are very low focusing attention on the acting. The whole set is white with clean lines and every scene happens so quickly, said Oliveira.
“As an artist, I believe art is the greatest reflection of society and I’m interested in telling stories,” said Oliveira. “I wanted to direct a play that illuminated social and political concerns.”
The play begins this Friday at the CSUN Studio Theatre in Nordhoff Hall 113 at 8 p.m. Contact the theater department for ticket and show information.
Taline Helwajian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org