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Theatre / The Shape of Things

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The Shape of Things is a play by Neil La Bute. It was adapted into a film in 2003 with the original cast, which included Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz.

When Adam Sorenson, an English literature major at Mercy College, meets Evelyn Ann Thompson, an attractive graduate art student at the local museum where he works, his life takes an unexpected turn. Soon after they begin dating, Evelyn begins to prod Adam to make dramatic lifestyle changes for the sake of his physical appearance. Immediately, Evelyn's abrasive personality puts her at odds with Adam's former roommate and the roommate's fiancée, but schlubby and unlucky in love up to this point and flattered by the attention, Adam decides to do whatever it takes to keep Evelyn in his life.


This play/film provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Education: Critics have noted that Evelyn would need the approval of her professor to do her art project, and since it involves blatantly manipulating and publicly humiliating another person, no professor would approve it, considering that doing so would surely mean they would lose their tenure and be fired if they did.
  • Becoming the Mask: Either an Inversion or a Subversion depending on how Evelyn's betrayal of Adam is played and what you think the one true thing she said to Adam might've been.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Adam in regards to Jenny. Prior to the start of the film, he spent 3 years pining for her (and Jenny admits that the attraction was actually reciprocated), but he never worked up the nerve to ask her out. Phillip has no qualms with scooping her up though.
    • The film ends with Adam not staying with Evelyn either, since the entire relationship was a ruse for her thesis.
  • Inopportune Voice Cracking: Adam's voice cracks when he asks for the ring back, implying he's on the verge of Manly Tears.
    Adam: It was my grandma's.
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  • Jerkass Has a Point: Phillip is a massive jerk, but he is also the only one who shows concerning over Evelyn being a controlling girlfriend. He was right.
  • Karma Houdini: Evelyn, unless you count no one showing up to her Art Gallery as karma.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Adam is dating Evelyn, Jenny is dating Phillip, Adam and Jenny has some Unresolved Sexual Tension, and Evelyn and Phillip are implied to have Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Meet Cute: Adam and Evelyn
  • Silent Whisper: Adam and Evelyn whisper to each other in bed. Later when he discovers she's been videoing him for a class project, that is the only part of their relationship that remains private. The play ends with him watching that section over and over.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: A really subtle case with Adam; Over the course of the film, due to Evelyn shaping him into societies version of a perfect man, Adam becomes more aggressive, deceitful, and selfish.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Adam and Jenny.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Adam and Phillip.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Adam asks Evelyn this almost verbatim. In a type 1 response, everything she told him from her birthdate to her history of self-harm to her ethnicity, turns out to be a lie. The only honest thing she ever said to him was a mysterious whispered phrase the audience never hears.


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