The Shape of Things A Play

Neil LaBute

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

144 Pages


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How far would you go for love? For art? What concessions would you make? What price would you be willing to pay? Such are the painful questions explored by Neil LaBute in his play and film The Shape of Things—a modern-day telling of the fall of man.

After a chance meeting in a museum, Evelyn, a sexy, aggressive artist, and Adam, a shy, insecure student, become embroiled in an intense affair. Before long, it veers into the kind if dangerous, seductive territory that LaBute does best, as Adam, under Evelyn's steady influence, goes to unimaginable lengths to improve his appearance and character. Only in the final and shocking exhibition, which challenges our most deeply entrenched ideas about art and love, does Evelyn reveal her true intentions.

This volume contains the original stage script for the play, which was also the basis for the film.


Praise for The Shape of Things

"LaBute is the first dramatist since David Mamet and Sam Shepard—since Edward Albee, actually—to mix sympathy and savagery, pathos and power . . . The Shape of Things . . . continues his fascination with the power games men and women play."—Donald Lyons, New York Post

"LaBute . . . continues to probe the fascinating dark side of individualism . . . [His] great gift is to live in and to chronicle that murky area of not-knowing, which mankind spends much of its waking life denying."—John Lahr, The New Yorker

"Shape . . . is LaBute's thesis on extreme feminine wiles, as well as a disquisition on how far an artist . . . can go in the name of art . . . Like a chiropractor of the soul, LaBute is looking for realignment, listening for a crack."—John Istel, Elle

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Neil LaBute

  • Neil LaBute is the critically acclaimed writer-director of numerous works for the stage and screen, including In the Company of Men, Your Friends & Neighbors, and The Mercy Seat.