The Shape of Things

Neil LaBute
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How far would you go for love? For art? What would you be willing to change? What price might you pay? Such are the painful questions explored by Neil LaBute in THE SHAPE OF THINGS. A young student drifts into an ever-changing relationship with an art major while his best friends' engagement crumbles, so unleashing a drama that peels back the skin of two modern-day relationships.

Production Info

Cast: 4 total (2 female, 2 male)
Full Length Drama (about 110 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Contemporary Costumes
Categories: ,

Press Quotes

“Any shrewd chap who finds his artist girlfriend has a video-camera in the bedroom to film the cut and thrust of their sexual action might well fear he was destined to end up as her artistic fodder. But in THE SHAPE OF THINGS, Neil LaBute’s absolutely chilling report from the sex war’s frontline, where stratagems for sexual humiliations are planned, Adam, the shy chap concerned, takes the video-camera, so to speak, lying down. LaBute, the remarkable American movie director and playwright whose film In the Company of Men showed a sexually unappealing woman exploited by two vengeful pretend lovers, now returns to this theme. This time it’s a man who’s the victim of female guile … LaBute meticulously plans that the shocking, climatic revelations should cast dark light upon his apparently average people.” —Nicholas de Jongh, The Standard

“[LaBute] continues to probe the fascinating dark side of individualism, whose ultimate evil is an inability to imagine the suffering of others … LaBute’s great gift is to live in and to chronicle that murky area of not knowing, which mankind spends much of its waking life denying. Where does truth end and fiction begin? Is the fiction more valuable than the truth? Do the results justify the means?” —John Lahr, The New Yorker

“What is art? What are you permitted to do in its name? … These questions are thrown up by a piece whose intricate layers of treachery are worthy of David Mamet …” —Paul Taylor, The Independent

“LaBute is a smart, ambitious writer who, at his best, dares to explore the ambivalence hiding under the weave of our social fabric. He always has a serious intellectual project in mind, and here he aims at no less than the subjectivity of love and the definition of art itself. THE SHAPE OF THINGS is compulsively watchable.” —Gordon Cox, Newsday

“LaBute is the most gifted, intelligent and wittily moral American playwright since Wallace Shawn; that is high praise, believe me. And this play marks his theatrical maturity. It’s a must see.” —Michael Coveney, Daily Mail

About the Author


  • Neil LaBute

    Neil LaBute received his Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing from New York University and was the recipient of a literary fellowship to study at the Royal Court Theatre, London. He also attended the Sundance Institute's Playwrights Lab and is the Playwright-in-Residence with MCC Theatre in New York City. LaBute's plays include: BASH: LATTER-DAY PLAYS, THE SHAPE OF THINGS, THE MERCY SEAT, THE DISTANCE FROM HERE, AUTOBAHN, FAT PIG (Olivier Award nominated for Best Comedy), SOME GIRL(S), THIS IS HOW IT GOES, WRECKS, FILTHY TALK FOR TROUBLED TIMES, IN A DARK DARK HOUSE, REASONS TO BE PRETTY (Tony Award nominated for Best Play) and THE BREAK OF NOON. In 2011 his play IN A FOREST, DARK AND DEEP premiered in London's West End. LaBute is also the author of Seconds of Pleasure, a collection of short fiction which was published by Grove Atlantic. His films include In the Company of Men (New York Critics' Circle Award for Best First Feature and the Filmmaker Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival), Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty, Possession, The Shape of Things, a film adaptation of his play of the same title, The Wicker Man, Lakeview Terrace and Death at a Funeral.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/31/2003
Pages 88
ISBN 9780881452228

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced at the Almeida Theatre, London
and subsequently at The Promenade Theater, New York

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The Shape of Things is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


3/2/2023 – 3/25/2023
Town Hall Theatre
Lafayette, CA

9/15/2017 – 10/15/2017
Eagle Theatre Inc
Hammonton, NJ

8/14/2017 – 9/3/2017
Rp Productions
Sydney, NSW, Australia


1/27/2025 – 1/27/2025
San Antonio, TX

12/13/2024 – 12/15/2024
Ferrell Studios
Metuchen, NJ

3/28/2024 – 3/31/2024
Florida Southern College Department Of Theatre And Dance
Lakeland, FL

3/15/2024 – 3/16/2024
Creative 360
Midland, MI

10/19/2023 – 10/23/2023
Minot State University, Division Of Performing Arts
Minot, ND

10/6/2023 – 10/15/2023
No Square Theatre
Laguna Beach, CA

6/9/2023 – 6/17/2023
South Shore Theatre Experience
Lindenhurst, NY

5/12/2023 – 6/3/2023
Elmwood Playhouse
Nyack, NY

3/30/2023 – 4/2/2023
Bootstraps Theatre
New Albany, IN

3/9/2023 – 3/12/2023
Pius Xi Catholic High School
Milwaukee, WI

2/24/2023 – 2/25/2023
Dale Snow Theater
East Stroudsburg, PA

2/24/2023 – 3/5/2023
University Of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK

10/13/2022 – 10/23/2022
Cloverdale Playhouse
Montgomery, AL

5/13/2022 – 5/22/2022
Your Theatre, Inc.
New Bedford, MA

4/5/2022 – 4/7/2022
100 University Pkwy
Cochran, GA

1/27/2022 – 1/29/2022
Leonia High School
Leonia, NJ

1/7/2022 – 1/8/2022
The Art Spirit Gallery
Coeur d'Alene, ID

10/15/2021 – 10/30/2021
Stockton Civic Theatre
Stockton, CA

8/13/2021 – 8/14/2021
Calhoun Community College
Tanner, AL

2/26/2021 – 2/26/2021
American Academy Of Dramatic Arts
Los Angeles, CA

11/13/2020 – 11/14/2020
Bridgewater College
Bridgewater, VA

3/25/2020 – 3/29/2020
Charles Mcneely
Lake Charles, LA

2/13/2020 – 2/16/2020
Boston College Theatre Department
Chestnut Hill, MA

2/13/2020 – 2/15/2020
St. Ambrose University
Davenport, IA

1/31/2020 – 2/9/2020
Oakland Community College
Royal Oak, MI

8/21/2019 – 8/29/2019
The Blank Theater
Los Angeles, CA

5/30/2019 – 6/1/2019
The Glass Horse Project
New Bedford, MA

5/2/2019 – 5/4/2019
Carleton College
Northfield, MN

3/14/2019 – 3/24/2019
Theatre Of Arts
Los Angeles, CA

1/27/2019 – 1/27/2019
Flint Community Players
Flint, MI

12/6/2018 – 12/8/2018
University Of Lynchburg Theatre Department
Lynchburg, VA

11/9/2018 – 11/18/2018
El Paso Community College
El Paso, TX

11/8/2018 – 11/17/2018
Missing Link Theatre Company
Portland, OR

11/7/2018 – 11/11/2018
Suny Oswego
Oswego, NY

11/6/2018 – 11/11/2018
Benedictine College Theatre Department
Atchison, KS

11/1/2018 – 11/11/2018
University Of Denver
Denver, CO

10/19/2018 – 10/20/2018
Third Revelation Theatre Co.
Dunellen, NJ

10/11/2018 – 10/13/2018
The Principia
Elsah, IL

9/6/2018 – 9/16/2018
The Cultch Vancity Culture Lab
Vancouver, BC, Canada

5/24/2018 – 5/26/2018
Self Produced Theatre
Jacksonville, FL

5/18/2018 – 5/26/2018
Clark College
Vancouver, WA

5/2/2018 – 5/6/2018
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA

4/10/2018 – 4/14/2018
Sam Houston State University Department Of Theatre And Musical Theatre
Huntsville, TX

4/6/2018 – 4/7/2018
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Buckhannon, WV

3/22/2018 – 3/24/2018
Crowder College Theatre Dept.
Neosho, MO

3/11/2018 – 3/11/2018
Breakthrough Workshop Theatre
San Diego, CA

3/1/2018 – 3/4/2018
Rutgers The State Univeristy Of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ

2/22/2018 – 2/23/2018
The Beaver Country Day School
Chestnut Hill, MA

2/21/2018 – 2/24/2018
Roanoke College
Salem, VA

2/16/2018 – 2/17/2018
William Jewell College
Liberty, MO

2/8/2018 – 2/10/2018
New York Film Academy
Los Angeles, CA

2/2/2018 – 2/4/2018
Robinson Players
Lewiston, ME

1/27/2018 – 1/28/2018
Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre, Inc.
New York, NY

1/27/2018 – 1/28/2018
Whitefish Theatre Co.
Whitefish, MT

12/11/2017 – 12/17/2017
Stella Adler Studio Of Acting
New York, NY

11/3/2017 – 11/17/2017
Think!dog Productions
Muncie, IN

10/27/2017 – 10/27/2017
University of Michigan/Newman Studio
Ann Arbor, MI

10/26/2017 – 10/28/2017
University of Michigan/Newman Studio
Ann Arbor, MI

10/20/2017 – 10/28/2017
Rhcr Theatre
Cedar Rapids, IA

10/19/2017 – 10/20/2017
Monongalia County Schools
Morgantown, WV

10/12/2017 – 10/15/2017
Cau Players
Atlanta, GA

10/12/2017 – 10/15/2017
Relativity School
Los Angeles, CA

10/5/2017 – 10/7/2017
Lone Star College-Montgomery
Conroe, TX

9/29/2017 – 10/7/2017
Khaos Company Theatre
Indianapolis, IN

9/28/2017 – 9/30/2017
Westfield State University
Westfield, MA

9/8/2017 – 9/8/2017
Jubilee Directing Lab
Dayton, OH

8/18/2017 – 8/27/2017
Essex Theatre Company
Essex, NY

8/10/2017 – 8/12/2017
Cdc Theatre
Cranford, NJ

4/20/2017 – 4/22/2017
Graceland University
Lamoni, IA

4/5/2017 – 4/8/2017
Minot State University Theatre Arts Department
Minot, ND

3/30/2017 – 4/8/2017
Birnton Theatricals
Calgary, AB, Canada

3/30/2017 – 4/2/2017
Mainline Theatre
Montreal, QC, Canada

3/24/2017 – 3/26/2017
Back Stage Theater Co. At Farmingdale State College
Farmingdale, NY

3/23/2017 – 3/26/2017
Santa Fe University Of Art & Design
Santa Fe, NM

2/24/2017 – 3/4/2017
Glendale Community College
Glendale, AZ

2/23/2017 – 2/26/2017
Clarke University
Dubuque, IA

1/19/2017 – 1/28/2017
University Of California At Davis
Davis, CA

12/8/2016 – 12/9/2016
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA

12/1/2016 – 12/1/2016
University Of Central Arkansas
Conway, AR

11/30/2016 – 12/2/2016
Longwood University
Farmville, VA

11/18/2016 – 11/20/2016
Manchester University
North Manchester, IN

11/18/2016 – 11/20/2016
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA

11/17/2016 – 11/20/2016
Muskingum University
New Concord, OH

11/15/2016 – 11/20/2016
Indiana University South Bend
South Bend, IN

10/28/2016 – 10/29/2016
Cedar Hill High School Hawkins Hall
Cedar Hill, TX

10/28/2016 – 10/30/2016
Golden West College Theater Arts Department
Huntington Beach, CA

10/27/2016 – 10/30/2016
Ohio Northern University
Ada, OH

10/27/2016 – 10/29/2016
American Academy Of Dramatic Arts
Hollywood, CA

9/16/2016 – 10/1/2016
Distraction Theatre Company
Nashville, TN

4/30/2016 – 5/4/2016
Boston University College Of Fine Arts School Of Theatre
Boston, MA

4/30/2016 – 5/14/2016
Average Joe's Productions
North Hollywood, CA

4/19/2016 – 4/20/2016
The Group Rep At The Lonny Chapman Theatre
North Hollywood, CA

4/14/2016 – 4/30/2016
New Edgecliff Theatre
Cincinnati, OH

3/28/2016 – 3/28/2016
Young Actor's Playhouse
Marietta, GA

3/18/2016 – 3/19/2016
Hatch Studio Theatre
Windsor, ON, Canada

3/11/2016 – 3/20/2016
Town Players Of Pittsfield
Pittsfield, MA

3/4/2016 – 3/24/2016
Bruka Theatre
Reno, NV

3/2/2016 – 3/2/2016
University of Minnesota, Morris Black Box Theatre
Morris, MN

2/5/2016 – 3/6/2016
Eclectic Theatre Company
Chicago, IL