Piet Mondrian was an artist in the early 20th century who is famous for taking only colored rectangles and black lines, and putting them on a canvas in order to show the relationship that colors have with one another, and how well they stand out alone, and in the process he helped to redefine what people thought of as “art”. Inspired by Mondrian, the set design for “The Shape of Things” by Neil LaBute was also a minimalistic, beautiful, and filled with lines and colored rectangles.
Similarly, there were only four actors in the entire play. They all stood out well, each with their own individual colors and style. Together, they brought out the differences in one another and their own true colors. “The Shape of Things” was also well-written, complete with lots of television, movie, and literary references, and scene changes were accompanied by modern music that helped reinforce the previously acted out emotional points, and to set the stage for the next scene. The minimalist sets were of interest, but in no way hindered the acting.
While all of the actors did a very convincing job, special credit should go to Kathryn Keyes’ portrayal of Evelyn. She hooks the audience’s attention in the opening scene, and gently strings them along throughout the entire production.
This show is for adults only, and does deal with some adult-themes that would not be appropriate for the kiddos. There is also occasional strong language. Keeping that in mind, this play will definitely cause its audience members to stop and appreciatively re-evaluate their own perceptions of themselves, and their relationships with the people around them, much like Piet Mondrian once did with his “art”.
“The Shape of Things” plays at the Topeka Civic Theater on June 22 & 23, and June 29 & 30 at 8pm, with a Sunday Show on June 24 at 2pm. Tickets are $15 each. Purchase tickets on-line, call the box office at 785-357-5211, or stop in at 3028 SW 8th Avenue.