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Mainstage Series concludes with drama, 'The Shape of Things'
Monday, April 28, 2014

Mainstage Series concludes with drama, 'The Shape of Things'

The Department of Theatre and Dance concludes its season with the modern drama, “The Shape of Things,” by American playwright Neil LaBute.

Six performances are scheduled from April 25 to May 3 in Bartlett Theatre at Rockefeller Arts Center as part of the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series. Dates and times are April 25, 26 and May 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on April 27 at 2 p.m.

Directing the show will be Theatre and Dance faculty member Jessica Hillman, whose recent department productions include “The Sound of Music” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Hillman described “The Shape of Things” as a thought-provoking work with a dark side.

“The Shape of Things” is set in a small university town and focuses on four students who become emotionally and romantically involved with each other, which leads to questions about the nature of art and the lengths to which people will go for love.

“It’s exciting and has a quick pace,” Hillman said. “You really get to know the characters and you can feel for them. Audiences will come away with something to think about. One of the points of the play is to make you question some deeply held assumptions.”

Born in Detroit, Mich., in 1963, LaBute is also a producer and director. His writing style has been described as “very language-oriented” with his works being “terse, rhythmic, and highly colloquial.”

According to an article on LaBute posted on the IMDb web site, the playwright has “firmly established himself as an unforgiving judge of the ugliest side of human nature” with his representation of “true-to-life characters” and “all-too-true social themes.”

Hillman thinks “The Shape of Things” is a work that college students in particular will find interesting.

“It raises questions about the meaning of art and how far one can go in service of their art,” she said.

Adding to the intimacy of the production is the fact it is set in Bartlett Theatre, which Rockefeller Arts Center’s smaller experimental, or “black box,” theater.

“The student designers have done amazing things with the set,” Hillman said. “It’s a lot like an art installation – it’s visually exciting.”

“The Shape of Things” is sponsored by M&T Bank as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season. The production contains adult themes and is recommended for mature audiences.

Tickets are available through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 and online at

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