By: Rae Meade, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor
What is love? Is it subjective? And just how far is one willing to go for not only love, but art? The BU players are raising all the uncomfortable questions and unveiling some harsh realities in their production of Neil LaBute’s “The Shape of Things,” staged by the award-winning director John Clancy.
After the curtain rises and a Green Day song gradually fades off, the show begins with something all too familiar: boy and girl meet, boy and girl appear to hit it off, girl gives boy her number, boy walks away with a hop in his step. It all seems fairly ordinary, except there’s something slightly unusual in this particular scenario. The girl is about to vandalize a sculpture of God in a museum with a can of spray paint, and after some flirtatious banter with the boy, who actually happens to be the security guard, she spray paints her number on the inside of his coat. Already, it’s apparent the girl is both eccentric and strangely enticing, not only to the boy, but to the audience, as well.
The girl, Evelyn, is played by BU player Lauren Shover, who directed last month’s production of “Hotline,” and the boy, Adam, is played by BU player Robert Pellechio, who starred in “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” and co-starred in “Hotline.” Evelyn and Adam are both students, Adam an English lit major, and Evelyn an art major. Evelyn is opinionated, free spirited, and just a tad pretentious (an understatement), the opposite of Adam, who is shy, awkward, and insecure in his dorky sweater and lumberjack-looking coat. Quite the unlikely pairing.
The two begin to date, and in a short amount of time, Evelyn practically has Adam on a leash, Adam going so far as to say that she clearly has him whipped. He trades in his plaid coat and glasses for a trendy jacket, fashionable scarves, and contacts, gets a nose job, and tattoos her initials in “a highly questionable place,” according to Evelyn. While Evelyn never directly tells Adam to do anything, she somehow manages to change his world entirely, much to the dismay of his best friend, Phil, played by Jose Calvo, and his fiancé Jenny, played by Amy Josuweit.
While I enjoyed seeing Pellechio in a role so different from his role in “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” in which he played the suave, but sarcastic Gordon (who also happened to be the dead man), Lauren Shover steals the show in “The Shape of Things.” She manages to be manipulative, sexy, heartless, and fascinating all at once. With just the cock of her eyebrow and a few artsy looking scarves, she transforms into a self-righteous artist and seductress. When she takes the stage alone to deliver Evelyn’s surprisingly cruel thesis project, her delivery will make audiences squirm with sympathy for the clueless Adam.
Also noteworthy is Jose Calvo’s performance as Adam’s obnoxious friend, Phil. The way Pellechio and Calvo play off the contrast in Adam and Phil’s personalities is enjoyable to watch, and at times quite humorous. Pellechio also has great chemistry with Amy Josuweit, who plays Jenny, Adam’s average friend and Phil’s fiancé. When Adam and Jenny have a brief, romantic moment in the woods, audiences will swoon.
BU players will put on “The Shape of Things” at the Alvina Krause Theatre downtown Wednesday April 18 through Saturday April 21 at 7:30 p.m and Sunday April 22 at 3 p.m.