Watch the following two plays and answer the questions, and please label it clearly:
The Shape of Things Neil LaBute
The Shape of things:
A. What did you think? Did you like it? What does this play say about life? About art? Did you notice anything interesting about the script itself? How did you feel about the characters? (Is Evelyn an awful bitch? Is Adam stupid?) Themes? Motifs? Symbols? How far would you go for love? Are ethics subjective? Etc. Etc. Etc.
One specific question: What moment in this play has the most potential for "theatricality"?
B. 1. Discuss any one moment from or aspect of the play that presents the potential for THEATRICALITY. Specifically discuss why.
2. Name 2 things that make this play somewhat cinematic.
3. Discuss the main theme (insinuated by the title) and its relevance to Tolstoy's ideas concerning art. In other words, how does the title relate to why Tolstoy might think that this play is ethically and artistically appropriate for our society and era.
4. Is Evelyn's project evocative of a VANITAS? Or is it one? Why or why not?
5. If ethics/morality are not objective and fixed then where do you think they begin? Why do we believe that murder is wrong if that belief is not somehow innate.
6. Is Evelyn a sociopath, a psychopath or neither and why?
A: Again, take the time to do some reading on the play. Of all the plays we've read, this one has the most theoretical, critical and literary publication. There's LOTS of stuff online. Normally, I would suggest the opposite but for this one you might want to do some research first. When I saw it in London, the program was close to 30 pages long! It's a DENSE play! Some ideas: 1. Look into the scientific and artistic motifs: especially landscape architecture (classical vs. picturesque) and mathematics (chaos, determinism and fractals). There are a number of social themes as well but the scientific and artistic/aesthetic themes are the most likely to require more researched understanding. 2. Compare and contrast the motif of fractals in this play with that of pointillism in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. 3. There are a number of really interesting symbols based in these same ideas. Specifically, I like the hermit, the garden and the primer. 4. Also, consider the thematic through-line of this play in all of the work we've read this semester. Think about the contrast between emotion and intellect (as previously explored in WIT, POETRY OF PIZZA and SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE). Additionally, we alluded to chaos theory when we read INTHE BLOOD. This play specifically uses chaos versus determinism as part of its thematic structure. Think about this far more lucid exploration of these concepts relate to the manner in which they were discussed during our IN THE BLOOD discussion. I also think that the way this play focuses on sex and romance can be compared and contrasted to some of the thematic content in THE GOAT. 5. Finally, this play is explicitly nonlinear. Take a look at the theatricality inherent in the timeline. You should also think about the new way of looking at theatricality - "theatricality of theme and subject matter" - that we discussed in out DOUBT Elluminate.
B. 1. List and describe one parallel between ARCADIA
and each of the other plays' we've read.
2. Give two reasons why I might argue that ARCADIA
is a great choice to end the semester.
The other plays we've read:
The Shape of Things Neil LaBute
In the Blood Suzan-Lori Parks
Wit Margaret Edson
The Goat, or Who is Sylvia Edward Albee
Doubt John Patrick Shanley
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