The Shape of Things

Rated 4.0

Evelyn is an edgy art student at a Midwestern college searching for a titillating project for her art thesis. While contemplating a male genitalia spray-paint job on a museum statue, she encounters Adam. Adam is a part-time museum guard and English-literature major who’s so nerdy he’s not even geek-chic. This cute meeting of an Adam and an Eve results in an odd romantic match-up and a strangely evolving relationship, written by the unsettling contemporary playwright Neil LaBute.

The Shape of Things is the first production by Capital Stage, the newly named professional theater company formerly known as the Delta King Theatre. By premiering such a gutsy, adult play by the controversial LaBute, Capital Stage has announced its emergence as a bold, contemporary theater—not content with its previous incarnation as a romantic-comedy company.

Stephanie Gularte, artistic director for Capital Stage, and Craig W. Marker reprise the roles of Evelyn and Adam that brought positive reviews for them at the Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley. Gularte plays her part of kooky-yet-confident artist close to her vest, allowing the strange storyline to slowly reveal itself. Marker, in his first local performance, is spot-on as the nervous nerd transformed in both physical and social arenas by a lovely lass. The two actors are joined by Michael Claudio, as Adam’s boisterous but loyal friend Phillip, and Jeanette Penely as Jenny, his long-suffering girlfriend.

Director Jonathan Williams keeps the action taut as the tension and suspense grows in this creepy storyline, resulting in the satisfying, surprising plot payoff. Helping to build the tension is the pulsating techno background music and the clever cubistic set design.