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State University Theatre drama resonates with students


Brookings S.D. (KELO AM) - The South Dakota State University Theatre troupe prepares to present Neil LaBute's "The Shape of Things"—an emotional story of a college student searching for self-confidence, and in turn, finding himself in a mess of insecurity and deceit.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19, and run nightly through Feb. 22, and Feb. 26 through March 1, with a 2 p.m. matinee March 2, at Fishback Studio Theatre in the Performing Arts Center.  The modern day Adam and Eve storyline centers on art, intimacy and willingness to make sacrifices for love. 

Adam is a shy, unconfident man until he meets Evelyn, an attractive graduate art student who visits the museum he works at. The two start dating, and Adam is convinced he has found his dream woman. As the relationship progresses, Adam's friends can't help but notice his dramatic physical changes. With subtle requests from Evelyn, Adam stops chewing his fingernails, trades his glasses for contact lenses, loses weight and undergoes cosmetic surgery.As the two develop as a couple, Adam's friends Phil and Jenny watch him fall head over heels for a woman who manipulates his every move. In the end, Evelyn presents her thesis art project at the local art gallery, leaving Adam and the audience speechless."The play tells the story of a man struggling with self-esteem, and I think it will resonate with students on campus," said W. James Wood, SDSU Assistant Professor of Theatre, who directs the play. "This is a different type of production than what we've done in the recent past because it challenges the actors to access emotional places they may have not been to before."Audiences should be aware that this production contains mature language and themes and is recommended for adult audiences."The casting for 'The Shape of Things,' is a little unusual in that there are two different actors for each character," said Whitney Graff, who plays one version of Evelyn. "However, there are not two separate casts, and each night, there'll be a different combination of actors. Every performance will be unique from the night before, and no two audiences are going to get the same experience. This randomization is something new and exciting that we've never tried before."Actors telling the story are Tyus Beeson, Minneapolis, Minn., and Steven Marienau, Hawarden, Iowa, playing Adam; Graff, Humboldt, and Jenna Croymans, Aberdeen, playing Evelyn; Dustin Kleba, Hartford, and Cody Schwartz, Sanborn, Minn., playing Phil; and Sadie Jensen, Harrisburg, and Maggie Murphy, Wilder, Minn., playing Jenny."The new process has been both rewarding and challenging in rehearsals," said Wood. "I think the actors are really enjoying practices, and it's exciting to watch them help each other as they perform the same part in different ways. "These eight actors have worked incredibly hard to form an ensemble, and I'm encouraging people to see the show more than once."  Tickets for "The Shape of Things" are $20 for adults, $18 for senior citizens, $14 for SDSU faculty and staff, and $13 for non-SDSU students and children. SDSU students are admitted free with their student ID.  Remaining State University Theatre events include:

"Dance at State—Spring Dance Concert," opening March 22, "Androcles and the Lion," opening April 23; and "The Spring Semester Student Showcase, opening May 1.

For more information, call the box office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 605-688-6045 or visit the State University Theatre website