Star of The Shape of Things steals our heart
By Kristin Magaldi
This past weekend the Mimes and Mummers premiered their last show of the semester, The Shape of Things. A very interesting take on the subjectivity of art, The Shape of Things features main character Adam, a dorky undergrad student, paying his way through college by working at an art museum. When he meets opinionated sculptress and expert in artistic vandalism Evelyn, his world is turned upside down as his new fascination with Evelyn leads him to accept the increasingly drastic changes she suggests for his physical image, from breaking his nail biting habit, losing a bit of weight, wearing contacts, and finally getting a nose job. Adam’s two newly engaged best friends, Jenny and Philip, begin to question whether or not Evelyn’s hold on Adam is well intended or just manipulation.
The show culminates with a rather shocking ending, as Evelyn unveils her senior thesis after Adam has just proposed to her. By the time Evelyn finishes her thesis, the audience learns that Adam was in fact the sculpture she had been working on, molding him into a more physically appealing human being, as well as changing his overall character. After successfully changing him entirely and getting him to forsake his two closest friendships, Evelyn is satisfied that her human art project is complete. While The Shape of Thing’s unconventional ending and lack of resolution leaves its audience with heavy hearts, the content of the play brings up many fascinating questions: is all art subjective, and how far can one go to pursue art? Does betraying the trust and love of another justify the end of a perfect product?
Actors Joshua Silverman, Joe Gallagher, Nora Geraghty and Marielle Rivera put on an outstanding performance. I was fortunate enough to snatch an interview with the ever talented up and coming actor Joe Gallagher to ask him more about what it was like to play Adam. After ushering me through several pushy camera men and many adoring fans, the actor formerly known as Joseph gave me more insight into the real nitty-gritty of The Shape of Things.
When asked what he did to prepare for this transformative role, Joe stroked the area of his upper lip that once featured his signature pencil mustache (I heard one single hair can sell for $500 on eBay) and answered after a bout of deep thought, “What I usually like to do is write down all of my lines in a notebook, and leave space so that I can write notes on different ways to go about acting those lines. For example, if the line is ‘Don’t go in that house, Sally,’ I’d maybe think of ways Batman would say it.”
Batman, I thought. How ingenious. Now this was the mark of a real actor.
Joe went on to explain how music and art were used to enhance the performance, in addition to giving the actors a better sense of what the scene was asking of them. With the glint of a true star dancing off of his Tom Cruise-esque Raybans, he told me, “Our director, Max Gossman, had the idea to play songs during rehearsals for certain scenes so that we could understand the scene on a different level. We decided to incorporate some of the songs into the show, choosing those that were somewhat recognizable. I think it added a nice touch.”
It did indeed, Joe. That, coupled with the various famous artworks displayed on a projector (chosen by Mimes very own Patrick “Spidermonkey” McCarthy), enhanced the scenes and created a nice parallel between the scene and the art (How very…dare I say it…artsy?). When finishing up the interview I asked Joe what he liked most about acting; being an aspiring actor myself, I was curious to learn from his abundant tree of knowledge. He replied to me, “I feel when you’re acting, the only way you can play a part, you really get perception on what it is like to be another person. As a result, when you walk in someone else’s shoes, you can’t help but respect someone else. You see the world from their eyes and become more sympathetic toward other ways of life.”
What did this mean? I could not pretend to know. Most of us are not on the same level of creative genius as Joe, just as most of us do not have his knack for growing stunning facial hair. All I can know for sure is that once again, the Mimes and Mummers put on yet another outstanding performance. Through the efforts of Emily Pandise, director Max Grossman, as well as the rest of the Mimes board, The Shape of Things completely delivered. Great job to the Mimes, and we will be looking forward to next year.