Characters rewind mental ‘Tape’

By Shannon Bedell, Eagle Life Writer

Photo by Sam Sargeant EWU graduate Blaine Nicholls and Gonzaga student Zachary Tinker argue during a performance of “Tape.”
Photo by Sam Sargeant
EWU graduate Blaine Nicholls and Gonzaga student Zachary Tinker argue during a performance of “Tape.”


A lone hotel room sets the stage: beer cans litter the ground and two young men come into view talking and reminiscing about the high school years; while one has become somewhat successful, the other appears to be struggling.

From March 6-8, the Lilac City Performing Arts put on a production of “Tape” by Stephen Belber at the Stage Left Theatre. In “Tape,” three characters — Jon, Amy and Vince — explore their perceptions of a key event that occurred 10 years earlier while in Vince’s room at the Motel 6 in Lansing, Mich.

Jon, played by EWU alumnus Blaine Nicholls, presents the image of an independent filmmaker trying to make movies that provoke reflection on society’s problems. Jon’s character is in Lansing to present his first film at a local film festival. Vince, played by Gonzaga’s Zachary Tinker, comes to Lansing to support his best friend Jon.

Jon comes to visit Vince and notices that Vince’s girlfriend has not accompanied him on the trip. Vince explains that his former girlfriend did not appreciate his personality traits and that she told him he had violent tendencies.

Jon, while he does not completely agree with Vince’s former girlfriend’s assessment, said, “[Vince] has a tendency to act in a phallic fashion.”

Soon, Vince starts pointing out Jon’s flaws. He points out his $200 shoes, to which Jon tells him they only cost $150. Vince counters Jon by pointing out his materialistic ways might interfere with his plan to explore through filmmaking “where this country is headed if we don’t be careful.”

Vince said, “You’re following the latest trend until you get laid then you’ll move onto the next one.”

While this occurs, Vince continues chugging beer after beer and eventually pulls out cocaine and marijuana. Vince admits he deals drugs and that he deals marijuana to the fire chief of the station where he volunteers.

During the argument between Vince and Jon, Jon says, “I’d like to explore why a 50-year-old fire chief needs to get high every night.”

As the fight escalates, Vince brings up a former high school girlfriend, Amy, who is played by senior EWU journalism student Cori Olson. Vince tells Jon that Amy is currently residing in Lansing where she is an assistant district attorney.

In high school, Amy had dated Vince and, after the breakup, had also dated Jon. Vince keeps questioning Jon about what happened between Jon and Amy in high school. Neither of them want to say exactly what happened, but eventually Vince badgers Jon enough to admit that he forced himself on Amy and raped her.

Vince then shows Jon the tape recording he just made of Jon’s confession leading to the breakout of a fight between the two.

Later, when Amy comes to Vince’s room to meet him for dinner, Vince keeps emphasizing that Jon needs to talk to her about what he did. Amy plays the conversation off and says she does not remember it being that way. She also points out that maybe the person that really needed a confession from Jon was Vince.

Amy decides to report Vince to the cops for possession of drugs and Jon for the rape 10 years ago.

Amy says to Jon, “If you are truly repentant, you should be willing to pay the price.”

Shortly after, Amy admits that she did not call the cops and is going to leave, giving the audience the impression that this situation was something she came to peace with long before.

Olson said, “This play has taught me that human perception is everything in a situation. I hope audiences can step back and really think about their actions and motives for those actions after seeing this show. If you walk away from something and you don’t feel quite right about it, it probably wouldn’t be bad to go back and reevaluate why you might have felt that way.”