Tape (play)

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Tape is a 1999 play by Stephen Belber. It was first produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the 2000 Humana Festival of New American Plays. It was later filmed by Richard Linklater as Tape starring Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and Uma Thurman. It follows classical unities of action, time and space, featuring three characters in a single plot regarding their differing perspectives of past events, in one unbroken period of real-time, in a single motel room set.


Tape is set in a motel room in Lansing, Michigan. Vince, an outgoing drug dealer/volunteer firefighter, is in town to support his old high school friend’s entry into the Lansing film festival.

His friend, documentary filmmaker Jon Saltzman, joins Vince in his motel room and the two begin to reminisce about their high school years. They get on the subject of Amy Randall, Vince's former girlfriend. It appears that whilst they dated for some time, Vince and Amy never had sex. However, after their relationship had ended, Amy had slept with Jon. Naturally, Vince was hurt even though he and Amy had broken up some time previously.

Vince claims Amy had told him that Jon had date raped her. Vince becomes obsessed with, and eventually succeeds in getting a verbal confession from Jon about the alleged rape. Immediately after Jon's admission, Vince pulls out a hidden tape recorder that had been recording their whole conversation, much to Jon's horror. Vince then tells Jon that he has invited Amy to dinner, and that she will be arriving shortly.

Eventually Amy does arrive and even though all three of them feel awkward, they begin to talk. Amy explains that she is now an Assistant District Attorney in the Lansing Justice Department. Eventually the three discuss what actually happened between Jon and Amy that night at the party.

Amy claims that it was merely rough sex and that Jon did not rape her, leading Jon to believe that she is in denial. After Jon becomes annoyed that Amy is refusing to accept his apology, Amy makes a call with her cell phone to the local police. She asks for a squad car to pick up one person in possession of drugs (Vince), and one in relation to a verifiable rape (Jon). After concluding her phone call, Amy warns the men that they only have about four minutes to make a run for it.

In order to prove to Amy that he is truly remorseful, Jon decides to stay and wait for the police. Vince, realizing that there is nowhere for him to run, flushes his narcotics down the toilet.

Amy reveals that she didn't really call the police, and leaves.

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