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The Scarlet & Black

“Tape” brings intimate production to life in flanagan

By Emma Sinai-Yunker

From the moment you walk into Flanagan theatre, the setting of this one-act play becomes incredibly tangible. Audience members are led down a long hallway, passing a few doors with numbers on their fronts before reaching one well-lit door sporting the number 32. Upon entering, you quickly realize that you’ve stepped onto the actual set of “Tape” inside a very convincing Motel 6 room. Further, the audience will be very much included in whatever happens within this motel room.

Teddy Hoffman ’14, playing the character Vince, a recently dumped drug dealer, occupies the remarkable set of “Tape.” Photograph by Emma Sinai-Yunker

The one-act is a single continuous scene that begins with Vince, a drug dealer who was recently dumped, waiting for his old high school friend, Jon, in the motel room. Jon has been more successful in life, with his film entered into a film festival. When Jon does arrive, things quickly become awkward as the men discuss and argue over personal identity and the past.

The way that the audience is angled gives a real sense of intimacy. Director of Stephen Belber’s Tape, Luke Saunders ’12 said that, “One of the things that Kenji Yoshino [set designer] and I were thinking about when we first talked about the set is, aside from the fact that we want these people to feel like they’re inside the room, we want them in moments of awkwardness, to kind of look across at the other people and share in that awkwardness and discomfort.”

Saunders is a fourth-year working with fellow students Teddy Hoffman ’14 (Vince), Ben Tape ’12 (Jon), and Kate Whitman ’14 (Amy). He describes the experience of working with actors around his age as liberating.

“Working as a student with other students is very equalizing,” Saunders said, “it makes collaboration a lot easier. They’re not afraid to give me their input and I’m not afraid to tell them what I need as a director.”

Though the production will feature college-age actors, its actual content is well within their life experience.

“More than being directly related to this campus, it’s about high school and the stupid things that happen,” Saunders said. “We all do stupid things in high school. Either you regret them or you don’t, but they do have some profound effects on people.”

This one-act resonates realistic, personal, and even as a bit of a punch to the gut in some places. The performances are Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday, April 15th at 2 p.m. Tickets are available for free at the Bucksbaum box office.

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    Christian Ricci '08Apr 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

    The fact that a student has the opportunity to direct a show in Flanagan with full set fills me with excitement. Luke Saunders was one of the most honest and engaging performers I ever had the opportunity to watch in Grinnell, thus I predict “Tape” will be an excellent show under his direction.