The Shape of Things

Written by Neil LaBute; Directed by Rich Ferraioli

BOTTOM LINE: A terrific multi-layered exploration of the limits of art, the development and manipulation of a young malleable personality, sociopathy, sexual obsession, loyalty and betrayal, reality and fantasy, objectivity and subjectivity.

Variations Theatre Group was founded by Rich Ferraioli and Kirk Gostkowski less than
a year ago and already appears to be a theatrical force to be reckoned with. Its first
(and very successful) production, Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things was launched in
April of this year in Long Island City but this typical Manhattanite, much to his chagrin,
missed it. That was clearly my loss.

Fortunately for me, however, VTG has now brought this production to the Access
Theatre in Manhattan and this time I was wise enough not to miss it. Wow! This is a
very professional production of an excellent play and I urge you to see it.

Originally staged in 2001 with Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Gretchen Moi and Frederick
Weller in the roles of four college students in a small college town and directed by playwright Neil LaBute himself, the play was turned into a motion picture two years later with the same
cast. The play has been reprised several times since and this latest incarnation starring
Deven Andersen (Philip), Alice Bahlke (Evelyn), Kirk Gostkowski (Adam) and Melissa
Haley Smith (Jenny) and directed by Rich Ferraioli is just about as good as it gets.

I won’t disclose the plot because I don’t want to deprive you of the pleasure I think you’ll
get from the very well-crafted surprise ending. Suffice to say that the play provides
intriguing allusions to such classical themes as those depicted in Shaw’s Pygmalion,
Shelley’s Frankenstein and Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the direction and acting are first-
rate across-the-board, and the set design is more than serviceable. A most auspicious
beginning for the Variations Theatre Group!

(The Shape of Things plays at the Access Theatre, 380 Broadway at White Street, through August 7, 2010. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8pm and Saturday at 2pm. General Admission tickets are $25. Student/Senior Discount tickets are $20. Theatre professionals with a resume/headshot pay $20. The Thursday, August 5th performance is “Pay What You Can Night.” TDF vouchers are accepted. For further information visit