Challenging ideas about art and love

Millersville University Theatre is proud to present the third and final production for this academic year.  The Shape of Things is a play about personal image, which challenges our most deeply entrenched ideas about art and love.

The Shape of Things is a play by Neil Labute featuring a small and intimate cast, simple set and costume design, under the guest direction of Kevin Ditzler.

Ditzler became interested in the theatre at the age of 14 when he saw his brother perform in a high school production of West Side Story.  This night, he definitely experience all the aspects of theatre, from the back stage to the audience.

“[That night] I was able to see a very powerful side of theatre that I had never seen before.  I have been fascinated ever since,” said Ditzler.

He began his theatre career studying at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center under his mentor, Edward Fernandez, also the artistic director.  Ditzler became well acquainted with all the aspects of the theatre through his two year long and very intense study.

He held the position of Director of Education at Ephrata Performing Arts Center for four years but have since turned his fascination with people into a job fundraising on their behalf at the United Way.

Ditzler was asked to return to Millersville and direct Shape of Things after an outstanding job as assistant director in last year’s production of Little Shop of Horrors.

“I have always loved Millersville.  I used to live down the street from the Sugar Bowl and I will always remember grabbing a slice of pizza and running over to Rafters Theatre to catch a show on Friday night.  Now I’m directing one,” said Ditzler.

His vision for Shape of Things centers on the complexity of the characters and dialogue.  “Labute is one of my favorite playwrights; his characters are always so perfectly flawed and real.  With a play like this there is no need for flashy costumes or a colorful set, all the attention should be on the four characters,” said Ditzler.

The inspiration for his vision stems from his fascination with people.  Ditzler enjoys observing the different levels of human interaction in everyday life.  “For me, art is life,” said Ditzler.  He applies everything he learns to his staged characters, making each personality on stage unique and multi-dimensional.

The largest obstacle to overcome in this production, according to Ditzler, is finding the confidence, in both himself and the actors, to portray the many different dimensions in each character.

“It is very easy to make one character appear to be the villain and the other seem very submissive.  The true challenge lies in locating that layer of humanity within each character,” said Ditzler.

Because of his love of human interaction, He hopes this production leaves the audience with something to think and talk about.  “Labute does a great job at asking questions and not answering them.  I hope every audience member walks away from Rafters in conversation or debate,” said Ditzler.

Performance dates for The Shape of Things are March 27, 28, April 2, 3, 4 at 8 p.m. and March 29 & April 5 at 2:00 p.m. in Rafters Theatre, Dutcher Hall.  Tickets can be purchases at the Student Memorial Center box office or by calling 717-872-3811 and online at www.MUTicketsOnline.com.