Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tape and the Pink Banana

Finally Something REALLY Interesting for Next Season

By Russ Bickerstaff
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As the current theatre season begins to swing into its final months, there have been an umber of new season announcements. A lot of interesting shows have been announced. It’s often difficult to tell this far out exactly what’s going to be great and what’s going to be less than great. Right now the one 2010-2011 show that I’m looking forward to more than ever will make it to the stage courtesy of Pink Banana Theatre.

Announced as the first show of its new season, Stephen Belber’s Tape has all those thematic elements to it that make for a really promising script—clean, thematic simplicity that doesn’t compromise an earthbound realism that explores the human emotional center of reality . . . the subjective nature of truth . . . all of that comes together in a script written by one of the minds behind the Tectonic Theatre Project’s The Laramie Project.

Belber’s three-person drama Tape debuted in 1999. The play is set in a shabby Midwestern motel room. Vince, a drug dealer and volunteer firefighter, is visited by Jon--a filmmaker friend of his who is in town for a local film festival. Jon and Vince discuss old times . . . a discussion which gets around to Amy—a former girlfriend of Vince’s who Jon may or may not have raped some time ago. Things get complicated as Vince turns out to have recorded the conversation and Amy is about to show up . . .

There are definite shades of Rashomon going on here as precisely what happened in the relatively distant past is up to speculation and there’s some question as to whether or not anyone knows exactly what happened. Belber seems to have successfully brought the basic themes of the subjectivity of truth found in Rashomon into a post-modern frame of mind without getting too lost in particulars about contemporary life that would muddle it too much.

Not satisfied to have simply found a really delicious contemporary drama to bring to the stage, Pink Banana’s Juanita Cordova will be directing the show as a site-specific production. Pink Banana has not announced where it will be staging Tape . . .the exact dates for the production haven’t been announced yet either . . . but thanks go out to Juanita for announcing the first show I’m really looking forward to for the 2010-2011 theatre season . . .

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