Fall, Creation, and Redemption in Neil LaBute's

The Shape of Things


By Dr. Duane Olson


1.  For a review of LaBute's career see http://www.ldsfilm.com/directors/LaBute.html.  LaBute attended Brigham Young University and is a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2. See Dynamics of Faith (New York: Harper and Row, 1957), ch. 1, for Tillich's description of both concepts.

3. Of course, LaBute himself is an artist and one must wonder about self-critique in his presentation of Evelyn.  In particular, as a playwright, one wonders about the self-critique involved in turning relationships with others into one's dramas.

4. This is not to say that a study of gender differentiation in LaBute's films is not important.  An interesting contrast can be drawn, for example, between the way Evelyn manipulates Adam, as a female, and the way Chad manipulates Christine in In the Company of Men.  In both, physical attractiveness plays a major role, and in both, the manipulative characters show themselves to be strong and confident people.  But Chad masquerades a level of tenderness in order to effect his manipulation that Evelyn lacks, or seems not to need.

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