Students shape this semester's VegSOUP production

VegSOUP and Cothurnus teamed up this week to present "The Shape of Things," a biting commentary on society's superficial ideas of beauty and art.

The play, written by Neil Labute and directed by junior Christina Baurle and senior Kathryn Tubbs as her senior project, brims with quirky banter as awkward, insecure college student, Adam, falls in love with Evelyn, a rebellious, free-spirited art student, while trying to keep her from defacing an art sculpture.

As their relationship intensifies, Adam begins to change himself for Evelyn; losing weight, eating healthier and dressing nicer. At first, these changes seem to be for the better, and Adam's friends Phil and Jenny praise him on his progress.

But what starts as a sweet, dorky love story spirals into a tangled mess of betrayal and manipulation, culminating in a scene that brutally exposes our "obsession with the surface of things, the shape of them."

The play addresses a problem in college art culture, claiming the need for "a line between really saying something and just needing attention." It constantly forces viewers to pick sides in an artistic and humane debate that grows increasingly twisted as the play progresses.

As Evelyn, played by Tubbs, reveals her chilling art thesis in the closing scene, she sparks a heated argument about the nature of art, education and society's standards of beauty and normalcy that will leave you thinking and even questioning yourself long after you leave the theater.

Tubbs is so completely immersed in the sometimes playful, sometimes horrifying character of Evelyn that it gets difficult to separate her from her act. When she turns on the charm, she's irresistible, but when she was at her coldest, I had to keep reminding myself she was an actor so I wouldn't throw my chair at her head. If looks could kill, her co-stars would not be around for opening night.

Sophomore Brandon DeFilippis is equally convincing as Adam's former roommate (and probable future "Tool Academy" contestant) Phil, and junior Allison McArdle is charming and relatable as his fiancé, Jenny. Sophomore Michael Vizzi creates delightfully awkward chemistry with Tubbs' Evelyn as the protagonist, Adam.

The bonds within the small ensemble never fail to seem genuine and heartfelt. Even at their worst, you can still see the friendship between Adam and Phil, and Adam and Evelyn spark with mutual attraction.

The costumes are simple but carefully picked to match each character's taste and preferences. Adam's costumes are especially interesting since they provide a visual representation of his changing persona.

The set shifts as frequently as the costumes, creating a challenge that the crew takes on with skill and precision, and the set pieces are placed carefully so that sightlines for the surrounding audience members remain clear.

"The Shape of Things" opens in the Robert Sinclair Theatre of Brodie Hall on Thursday and runs till Saturday, with performances at 8 p.m. on all three nights and one extra performance at 11 p.m. on Friday night. Tickets are on sale for $6 in the Brodie Box Office.

"The Shape of Things"Robert Sinclair Theatre, Brodie Hall Thursday - Saturday at 8 p.m., additional show Friday 11 p.m.Tickets: $6