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'The Shape of Things': How far would you go?

Joey Nicoletti (Adam) and Sybil Anast (Evelyn) rehearse a scene from "The Shape of Things," opening Thursday, Oct. 27 (photo/Ada Icon)

The Shape of Things, an intense play written by Neil LeBute, opens at Ohio Northern University in the Stambaugh Studio Theatre at the Freed Center on Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m., and will run through Sunday, October 30. The play focuses on a disturbing and intriguing experiment designed to study human relationships. The characters deeply explore the ethics implicated in the relationship between art and life to leave the audience pondering with endless questions after seeing the show. The Shape of Things challenges the audience’s ideals of art, love and serious manipulation.

Brian Sage, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Ohio Northern University, is the director of The Shape of Things. The cast of only four actors are: Joey Nicholetti, Sybil Anast, Michael Swain-Smith and Darby Beckwith.

Anast, who plays Evelyn Ann Thompson, an attractive and manipulating graduate student studying art, expressed her gratitude of playing such an important role. 

When I first found out I got this role I was very excited because of the small cast and for the opportunity to work with Brian. We get a lot of personal attention when working on our characters…more in-depth than I ever have.  Because there are only four characters I am able to feel a lot more connected to my character,” said Anast.  

With such a small cast, the actors have to deal with a lot of pressure to memorize lines. Nicoletti, who plays Adam Sorenson, barely gets to leave the stage for the entire show. Anast had to memorize a six-page monologue for the end of the second act. The pressure for memorizing so many lines gave the actors motivation to stay on top of learning lines early during the beginning of the rehearsal process.

Sage, who is an actor himself, believed that above all else, this show is a learning experience for the actors and his role is to teach. He does not give his actors deadlines to be “off-book” because he knows how much pressure lies on trying to get every word of a line right, rather than staying present in the moment and being true to their characters.

Sage seems to give his actors his full attention and focus in rehearsals. All of his actors can attest it is an honor to work with him as a director. 

 “Working with Brian has honestly changed me as an actor. He doesn’t ever tell you exactly what to do. He lets you kind of figure it out and questions you, which helps me a lot and lets me be more creative with my character,” Anast explained.

When asked what message he hopes the audience perceives after watching the play, Sage answered:

 “I don’t think there’s a message in this show, to be honest. I think it leaves you with a question…‘How far are you willing to go for something you’re passionate about?’"

 

EDIT (10/26/2016 @ 2:23 p.m.): Corrected content.

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