Ten year reunions between high school chums and lovers; social networking; small town film fests; date rape. These are all timely issues that are being brought to the stage in Steven Belber’s Tape, at Playhouse West in Noho. Tape started out as an off-Broadway play and has been reincarnated and redone numerous times with a cast of three in theatres throughout the nation. This production stars Hallock Beals (also the show’s producer), Jason Rue and Ciera Parrack, who meet and confront each other in a motel room in Lansing, Michigan. Vince (Beals) is a clueless, violent-prone addict/loser, who manipulates Jon (Rue) into admitting to the date rape of Amy (Parrack), coincidentally, now Lansing’s assistant district attorney.
It’s a far fetched scenario: three friends reuniting, in a small-town motel room, with not much in common, yet the chemistry and well written dialogue somehow work, leaving the audience with the message that life is an ongoing conundrum. Even a seemingly low-life criminal and high school date rapist can have redeeming features and a guilty conscience, leaving the victim in a quandary herself. So, who is the real guilty one here since only the incriminating tape recorded confession is the evidence. The boyfriend is obviously guilty, but every character is impaired in some way. The circle of guilt is easy to pinpoint, but unfortunately it has many, many branches, not unlike a disfigured tree growing in one of Edgar Allan Poe’s yards. The tape is crucial to the case, and the more truths revealed, the more questions arise.
Tape is showing at 8 p.m. on December 17 and 18 and 7 p.m. on December 19 at the Playhouse West Studio 3, 10638 Magnolia Blvd in NoHo. For more information, call (818) 881-6520 or visit http://www.playhousewest.net/theater.php.