by DICK KEREKES
Mixed Metaphor Productions is a new theatre group that launched its initial play last weekend on the stage of Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre, with Stephen Belber’s thought provoking play Tape that looks at the difference between rape and date rape compared to consensual sex. This cutting edge script has four more performances with two more at ABET, 716 Ocean Blvd in Atlantic Beach, the 24th and 25. There are performances on August l3 and l4 at The Sinclair, a downtown night club at 521 W. Forsyth in Jacksonville.
This is the North Florida premiere so brief plot summary is in order. All the action takes place in an hour and ten minutes at a Motel 6 in Lancing Michigan. The room is rented by a young, brash drug dealer (and user), Vince, (A J Pratt) who has come to town to see his old high school buddy of ten years ago Jon (Garry Burgoyne). Jon is a fledging documentary film maker who has an entry in the Lansing Film Festival.
With Jon’s arrival for the reunion of sorts, it becomes very evident quickly that Vince is not there to support his old pal for his film work, but to confront Jon about an incident that happened back in high school days. Vince wanted to know the truth about what occurred between Jon and Amy, Vince’s high school ex-girl friend with whom he never had sex and not because of his not wanting to. Jon and Amy in one drunken night out ended up in bed, in an act that was either rape or consensual, and Vince, after ten years still smarting from his rejection by Amy, grills his buddy about the incident. He gets more and more violent as he smokes grass and uses cocaine during his interrogation.
To make things very interesting Amy (Tracy Olin) is living in Lansing and working as an assistant district attorney, and she arrives to see Vince just for old times’ sake and not knowing that Jon is there as well.
Things get hot and heavy and tensions rise. There are some clever twists that have to do with how everyone’s perceptions of an experienced event are never the same. Was Amy raped? Was it date rape? Was it just rough consensual sex? You will have to decide in your own mind after you hear the different explanations of that evening.
Tom Trauger directed this play, designed the set, lights and sound and was assisted in the technical portions by Neal Thorburn as Stage Manager, Brian as Technical Director and Andrew McCraney who operated the lights and sound. Trauger, along with Ms. Olin and Mr. Burgoyne (both in the show) are the founders of Mixed Metaphor Productions. This group wants to bring bold and edgy scripts to fruition in the Jacksonville area. Their first choice, Tape is a well written, hard hitting play for adults only. It has been widely done all over the county with rave reviews and is not to be missed.
This play should especially appeal to those who appreciate excellent acting. All three characters are superb, but if you are an avid theater goer you are already familiar with the excellent resumes of A J Pratt, Tracy Olin, and Garry Burgoyne in many productions all over the North Florida area. Director Trauger is probably better known as an actor locally, but he is an excellent director who competed in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival representing FCCJ.
I was delighted by the almost full house at ABET on opening night at a show that was not part of their season and everyone who came was there because of the reputations of the Director and performers. I appreciate ABET opening its venue to new groups and plays. It is certainly a plus to lovers of theatre and especially to Atlantic Beach residents who have true gem in their community in ABET.
Cost is always a consideration these days when going out, but at $l2.00 a ticket and $10.00 for seniors and military, it is a real bargain and believe me you get more than your money’s worth in fine theatre. Call 249-7177 for ABET reservations. For reservations at The Sinclair, downtown’s newest nightclub call 358-000.
by DICK KEREKES