Delightfully suprised, SDSU theatre production leaves audience pleased

Shaheed Shihan Columnist

Of the many things a college student could do on a Saturday night, I decided to go check out The Shape of Things. With no prior notion on the plot of the play, I really didn’t know what to expect. But to say the least, I wasn’t disappointed. 

On the contrary, I was actually really impressed. Upon entering the Fishback Studio Theatre, I found that it was an arena-like stage, allowing seating on all sides. I had never attended a play with such a seating arrangement and this intrigued me.

Would it be hard to hear the actor if they have their back toward me? The physical aesthetics of the arena were striking – the floor was a brilliant Mondrian pattern, the statues and artifacts on stage gave it a museum-like feel and the sound track was contemporary.

As the production began, I found out that this play was more fine-tuned than I had expected. The soundtrack was critically chosen to portray the scene that had just taken place. The props were quickly changed after every scene to fit the next one. It was amazing to see how smoothly they changed a scene representing a museum to a bed for a couple, to couches. On reading the program I found out that of there were eight actors chosen to play four characters. A lottery decided who would perform which night – in other words, you could be paired up with a different partner each night. 

But for me, the various messages and ideas it played on were the main attraction of the play. Set in a small Midwestern college town, the play resembled SDSU and Brookings as a whole. If that isn’t enough to convince you, the hick-sunglass-wearing-loud-mouth character that only shows up to class when there’s an exam, might. The plot played on the natural human instinct to avoid conflict – our eagerness to avoid self-expressionism and to agree with someone just so we can make friends. 

The play was a contemporary restatement of the biblical story of Adam and Eve. It begins at the museum, which is symbolic of the garden with Adam as its keeper. Throughout the play, Evelyn comes off as this enigmatic alluring lady who makes suggestions to Adam to change in lure of a more committed relationship backed by sexual encounters. Adam’s transformation attracts attention from his female counterparts and “gets him laid.” But his obsession with Eve reaches a point where he is ready to give up his friends for her and deepens the theme that our relationship with others is very much dominated by surface appeal rather than personal character. By nature and course of study, Evelyn comes off as heartless. She is the girl that wants to carve the man of her dreams to her liking. She uses manipulation and deceit as her chisel then discards him once her project is over. 

 Overall, I found the play to be engaging. The length of the play, the sophomoric dialogue and the act of human nature to commit sins – all rolled pretty smoothly together. My biggest take away from the play was the societal obsession with what’s on the outside, The Shape of Things, and our inclination to take a bite of the forbidden fruit. Shout out to Mr. Wood and the rest of SUT who worked hard to make this a success.  

Shaheed Shihan is majoring in mathematics. He can be reached at [email protected]