Theater on the Edge's 'Tape' traps audiences with a tightly crafted thriller

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Megan Raitano as Amy and Zack Roundy as Vince in Theater on the Edge's production of 'Tape.' - PHOTO BY MONICA MULDER
  • Photo by Monica Mulder
  • Megan Raitano as Amy and Zack Roundy as Vince in Theater on the Edge's production of 'Tape.'
Back in November, I attended my first Theater on the Edge performance at Truthful Acting Studios, and applauded the potential in their production of American Buffalo. With their latest show, Stephen Belber’s tense three-hander Tape, producer Marco DiGeorge and director Pam Harbaugh deliver on that promise, presenting a tightly crafted take on the material that sheds new light on a trio of otherwise unlikable characters.

Tape traps audiences in a seedy Michigan Motel 6 (hyper-realistically designed by Samantha DiGeorge with vintage furnishings and vomitous wallpaper) with Vince (Zack Roundy), a small-time drug dealer, and Jon Saltzman (Joey Ginel), his high-school pal turned pretentious film director. The overgrown boys’ boisterous banter turns sinister when Vince goads Jon into confessing that he raped Amy Randall (Megan Raitano), Vince’s teenage sweetheart. That unburdening triggers an explosive three-way confrontation that leaves audiences debating where the line is between self-assertion and self-delusion.

Roundy returns to playing lowlifes after portraying Bobby in American Buffalo, but his rendering of Vince has more layers than expected, thanks to a pantomimed preshow that provides intriguing insight into his state of mind. Though Vince appears to be emotionally unstable, the idea that it may be a Hamlet-esque act adds exciting complexity to his motivations, along with a much-needed dose of humor. Ginel gets Saltzman’s glibness to a T, though he had some trouble keeping up with Roundy’s rapid-fire cue pickup during the early portions of the preview I saw. But by the time Raitano arrives on the scene, Harbaugh’s cast is firing on all cylinders, as she slices the men to shreds with her laser-like intensity and dagger-firing eyes, upending the very idea of the damsel in distress.

Like Jeremy Seghers’ recent production of This Is Our Youth, Tape confronts viewers with a view of disaffected post-adolescents that’s as timeless as it is unpleasant. Full credit goes to Theater on the Edge for keeping me riveted to my seat, instead of fleeing the room as these characters should probably do.

Tape
through March 19
Theater on the Edge, 5542 Hansel Ave.
$19-$22
theaterontheedge.org


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