Since the beginning of quarantine last year, creatives who rely on live audiences to attend their exhibitions and performances have had to brainstorm ways to continue to bring their work to the public. The Shared Screen, a theatre company founded in response to COVID-19, presents TAPE as one such solution in the era of social distancing.
Adapted from Stephen Belber’s 2001 film TAPE, the setting is one many of us have become familiar with: Zoom, the video conferencing program. We become, therefore, involved directly in the relationship between Amy (Chelsea J. Smith), Vince (Travis Schweiger), and Jon (Neal Davidson).
The Shared Screen Brings Theatre Into The Quarantine Era
Vince dances wildly in front of the camera, with the jerky movements of someone described as a character “who stirs the pot to shake out the truth” in the production’s description. We see him in casual conversation with Jon, an aspiring filmmaker who tries to tone down his unseemly friend, and eventually Amy, too. And, as audience members, we find ourselves directly drawn into the drama of the three’s final days in high school and their discussion of it. It is as if we are in the call ourselves, with all the usual glitches and lagging that technology brings.
The attempt to adapt TAPE into this format is commendable. However, in this reviewer’s opinion, the production may not be the best selection for someone looking for the comfort of traditional theatre. Additionally, the plot discusses some graphic content, such as rape. This production is recommended for those who are interested in exploring the ways that new mediums can enhance or alter the theatrical experience.
Images courtesy of The Shared Screen.