TAPE, by Stephen Belber, directed by Elissa Weinzimmer. Without question the best production of this 2000 perennial I’ve ever seen, out of 4-5 of them including the 2001 movie. Belber’s theme, which I take to be the disjunction between our image of our past life (the one that runs on a “tape” in our mind) and the harsh reality we recognize at many years’ remove, requires that we believe in the shared past of this trio of reunited high schoolers; I can’t see how the perfectly cast Donald Rizzo (Vince), Jason Karasev (Jon) and Juliana Long Tyson (Amy) could be improved in that regard. The strains linking them are totally credible, and we also believe the different roads each has traveled to return to today’s starting point. Weinzimmer’s pacing is unimprovable, and even Joe Sofranko’s fight sequence between old buddies has the right mix of foolishness and deadly earnest. Riveting from beginning to end, setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the Fest.
Tape is part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and runs June 14, 18, 21, and 22 at Artworks Theatre. For tickets, see hollywoodfringe.org/projects/878
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