Actors hone their performance for the Neil LaBute’s upcoming play “The Shape of Things” scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 20 through Jan. 22, at Rush Hall, Idyllwild Arts. Actors, from left, are Meghan O’Neill, Dylan Arnold, Dakota Shapiro and Tierra Kamolvattanavith. Photo by Cid Castillo

The Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Theatre Department presents playwright Neil LaBute’s “The Shape of Things” this weekend.

Director Howard Shangraw states, “In Neil LaBute’s play “The Shape of Things,” the question of morality and the nature of art is asked. It challenges us to look at the ethical responsibility involved in the relationship of art and life. Power and manipulation shape the story of a young artist and her subject. Neil LaBute presents an intense and shocking look into art and the artlessness of people.

“’The Shape of Things’ provokes us, disturbs us, and may even seduce us,” Shangraw suggested. “It is all subjective, as is art. And it answers the question of morality by asking one final question, ‘Let me ask you something, what is not art?’”

The play will be performed in the round, offering a new experience and perspective to those normally performed in a standard theater. The play has adult themes and strong language and is recommended for mature audiences only.

While “The Shape of Things” seems a difficult choice for a student production, Shangraw explained, “I wanted to do a modern play. Neil LaBute is a contemporary, popular, and often times controversial writer. This play deals with acceptance based on self-image and is the first of a trilogy of plays on the subject, followed by ‘Fat Pig’ and ‘Reasons To Be Pretty.’ This is a very relevant topic for our students — immature and hurtful behaviors among romantically involved young adults. We have studied his plays in class and they resonate with the young actors.”

The production features Teirra Kamolvattanavith as Evelyn, Dylan Arnold as Adam, Meghan O’Neil as Jenny and Dakota Shapiro as Phillip.

The production is stage managed by senior Chase Ingrande with assistance from sophomore Celeste Olivia. Bonnie Carpenter, Minnie Christine Walters and Todd Carpenter designed the production’s set, costumes and lighting respectively.

The Theatre Department’s Chair, Howard Shangraw, directed the production and senior Rebecca Goldberg was his assistant director.

The production is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, and Saturday, Jan. 21, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23. All performances will be staged at Rush Hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus and are free and open to the public.