“Tape” to Miami
Miami may not be known for its theater performances, but a group of college students is working to change that.
In June, House Next Door Productions will premiere their first production as a piece of alternative theater, hoping to raise theater awareness within their local community. “Tape” by Stephen Belber is the story of three high school friends who, 10 years later, revisit a fateful incident that occurred on the night of their graduation, altering the course of their lives.
Omar Bham, who plays Vince, performed a scene from “Tape” for one of his acting classes at Florida International University. He then approached classmate Victoria Collado, who agreed to direct the play as a side project. Other classmates rounded out the cast, and Collado brought in her longtime friend and project collaborator Mauricio Abascal as producer.
The initial production of “Tape” began in January, with the team agreeing upon a concrete game plan in March. After that, it was a matter of finding both funding and a space to put on the show. As rehearsals took place in Collado’s house, the production team realized that they could transform the space into their stage – creating their own alternative theater. Alternative theater doesn’t necessarily take place on a stage or in a traditional theater environment. It is a mixed media format that can adapt and morph into different creations.
From the start, the production bought the rights to perform the play in its original form, without the need for adapting the script. This production uses both the prologue and epilogue the writer originally included as “optional,” but the director and producer felt were essential to the play’s essence.
Even with hectic schedules and weeks of missed rehearsals due to final exams, the production slowly but surely came together.
“Many of us have never taken on a project without school backing before,” Abascal said. “We’ve never had a chance to really think or fail before.”
The production of “Tape” is entirely non-profit—not one member of the team is receiving a paycheck for their time, effort or performance.
Stage manager Patricia Morales found a fundraising resource in the website Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. The goal for “Tape”: $600 by May 27. The crew left little time – only 18 days – for their goal to be reached, but with donations from family and friends they met their goal with six days left. The crew will offer rewards to those who donate to the project, ranging from “shout outs” to T-shirts to producer credit on the playbills.
The funds raised on Kickstarter will be used to pay for lighting, sound, set design and other expenses incurred through the project. The production of “Tape” is entirely non-profit—not one member of the team is receiving a paycheck for their time, effort or performance. Any remaining funds will be used for the startup production company House Next Door Productions, which Abascal and Collado plan to fully license and incorporate once their first production closes.
Abascal hopes the audience will enjoy the performance.
“It’s in-your-face. It’s visceral, it’s drugs, it’s sex. The audience will be shocked. They’re coming to see a quality piece,” he said.
Although the production is staying as true to the original script as their budget allows them, they did take some creative liberties adapting the setting to fit the alternative theater.
One of the most exciting experiences Abascal recalled: staging a fake party to get video footage that will show during the performance. Guests were asked to dress in ‘90s clothing and pretend they were celebrating their high school graduation as the Class of 1994.
Abascal also said that the production has provided invaluable experience for everyone involved.
“I wouldn’t mind doing this in the future. It’s opened my eyes to possibilities I didn’t know existed,” he said of his first theater production credit.
The Miami production of “Tape” by Stephen Belber will show on June 3 and June 4. The crew is expecting 30 to 40 audience members each night. Admission is free, but the crew will be accepting donations and selling concessions.
“Tape” by Stephen Belber runs for one hour and 15 minutes with no intermission.
[box] About the Show:
House Next Door Productions presents
T A P E
Written By Stephen Belber
Directed by Victoria Collado
Produced by Mauricio Abascal, Daniel Nieves, and Patricia Almodovar
Stage Manager: Patricia Morales
Scenic Design by Victoria Collado
Lighting Design by Will Cabrera
Costume Design by Angelina Esposito
Sound Design by Robert Alter
Projection Design by Mauricio Abascal
Jon – Fernando Lamberty
Vince – Omar Bham
Amy – Michelle Antelo
By Megan Ondrizek
Find out more about the show on Facebook: here