Intense, thought provoking, controversial: These are some of the words used to describe award winning playwright and filmmaker Neil LaBute's "The Shape of Things" which opens on Feb. 19 at Virginia Tech and runs through Feb. 24 in the Squires Haymarket Theatre. The production is a part of the 2012-13 Mainstage Theatre series.

LaBute is no stranger to this season's program offerings; his adaptation of Woyzeck was performed in November. "The Shape of Things" is a vastly different play, showcasing the author's eclectic range. The piece centers around a group of modern day university students who grapple with life's big questions regarding the nature of love, art, manipulation, and identity. This provocative and philosophical piece examines human relationships and has been described as a thoughtful blend of "witty" and "intense."

Faculty member and director Susanna Rinehart remarked, "I feel so fortunate to be directing this play. I think our audiences are going to love what they see. LaBute has an amazing capacity for reflecting the complexity and vulnerability inherent in contemporary human relationships. Again and again, he bounces you back and forth between a laugh, and a sharp intake of breath. We recognize ourselves and our friends in these four college-age characters, and are simultaneously amused and horrified that we do! We have such a talented cast, designers, and production team on this project. I am particularly proud of the way in which the scenic, light, and sound design concepts elucidate and theatricalize the action. I can’t wait for audiences to experience this brilliant (and surprising) play."

LaBute is a playwright, film director, and screenwriter. He also directed a 2003 film version of "The Shape of Things" starring Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz.

Performances are Feb. 19-24 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 23-24 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 students/seniors, and are available at the Student Centers and Activities Ticket Office in the Squires Student Center. For tickets, call 540-231-5615, order online, or purchase at the ticket office. Tickets will also be sold at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance.

Free parking is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Streets, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Alternative parking is available in the Kent Square parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Find additional Downtown Blacksburg parking information online.

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