By Jackie Demaline
Enquirer staff writer
There's no end of drama for a start-up theater company. For New Stage Collective, it was a trip to the emergency room for a lead actor a couple of days before the opening of Neil LaBute's Gen-Y-friendly The Shape of Things, at the Greenwich through Saturday.
Director Alan Patrick Kenny has stepped in to play geeky museum guard and lit student Adam, and he has a good handle on the guy who becomes obsessed with Evelyn (Sydney Morton), right down to the way he clutches his crummy corduroy jacket like a security blanket.
Their names - Adam and Eve(lyn) - are a big clue that LaBute (Bash, In the Company of Men) is up to his nasty tricks as he explores questions of truth, art, subjectivity and American society's obsession with the superficial as Eve performs a major makeover on Adam. Small wonder a new, cynical generation enjoys the irony of the biblical flip.
New Stage Collective has a lot of promise to go with its ambition, although Shape is not its best showing. Bearing that in mind, it might also be fun to know you saw these actors when.
Being poor as church mice, the troupe is trying out the Greenwich party room as a theater space.
Next month, Know Tribe will be checking in with Burgess Byrd repeating the wildly popular one-woman memoir Pretty Fire.
The Greenwich (2440 Gilbert Ave.) is a bare bones space, but workable for some shows. It's less workable for a drama like Shape, which demands lots of location and costume changes. Kenny really needed to solve the problem of how to keep the accelerator on the action.
Adam's costuming is a major issue as he transforms, and (here's poverty again) the production doesn't support it - part of the problem could be the last-minute switch in actors and fitting issues.
Support is sufficient from Kera Halbersleben and Blake Gehring as Adam's best friends, but, while one of New Stage's charms is that it taps young talent, Evelyn is too nuanced a role for Morton, a recent high school graduate.
She telegraphs much too much to the audience, and Kenny, being on stage with her, isn't standing back with a director's eye and helping her shape her performance.
The Shape of Things, 8 p.m. today and Saturday, New Stage Collective, The Greenwich, 2440 Gilbert Ave., East Walnut Hills, 293-6063.
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