“Wanda’s Visit” And “Tape”

Phillipian Arts sat in the rehearsals for tonight’s two DramaLabs, “Wanda’s Visit” and “Tape” and offers a preview. “Wanda’s Visit” An old high school girlfriend who still harbors feelings for you and a tape recorder full of lies? They sound like the perfect makings for any scandal and gossip-filled TV show, but this week stay away from your TVs. The drama is coming live to Phillips Academy in two shows: “Wanda’s Visit” directed by Eric Sirakian ’10 and “Tape” directed by Dan Aronov ’11. In “Wanda’s Visit,” a seemingly bipolar ex-girlfriend and unsatisfied married couple come together in a mishmash of embarrassing encounters and comedy. Marsha (Eliana Kwartler ’12) and Jim (Adrian Stone ’12) begin the play with a tense scene in which Jim objects to Marsha playing classical music on the stereo player. Instead of arguing, they glare at each other until Marsha switches the stereo off. Despite this edgy encounter, Marsha and Jim appear to be the perfect couple with an orderly house. Wanda (Evan Eads ’12) is Jim’s high school girlfriend and a whirlwind of a character. She cries, flirts, rants, flatters and is just downright entertaining to watch. As the play unfolds Wanda continues to explain her life’s story and many failed marriages . She unveils her attraction to Jim, or “Jimbo,” as she calls him. Marsha becomes uncomfortable and a little jealous. Wanda’s mysterious behavior, including changing her face so “They” cannot find her, makes both her hosts nervous. Her true motives seem far from the surface in this exciting and hilarious play. The play offers all the actors chances to showcase their talents at playing multifaceted characters. Sirakian thoroughly illuminated the interesting backgrounds of each of the characters. He and the actors outlined the characters’ birthplaces and daily lives, and even imagined a rebel-type boyfriend Wanda had in college. Sirakian said, “I really liked the play because it was a relationship play, like why some relationships are meaningful and others are not.” “Tape” Set in an other-worldly dimension, Aronov’s “Tape” takes on a darker, more dramatic tone than “Wanda’s Visit” and outlines a very different relationship. The play begins with two characters talking, their conversation leading to a horrifying realization. We see an attendant and a “person” talking alone in a room that is empty except for a giant reel of tape. The attendant (Kira Wykcoff ’11) appears to be in control, while “the person” (Rachel Zappala ’10) decidedly has no control. As the title suggests, the tape is the key prop in the play, and its startling purpose is revealed at the end. The attendant tries to comfort the “person,” as well as instill some sense of fear in her. The relationship between the attendant and the “person” is like that between a stern teacher and a child. Throughout the play the “person” fears the attendant who actually is supposed to be helping her. While the “person” becomes increasingly frightened, we begin to understand more about the attendant. We discover that she only sleeps when she is able to and cannot dream. But this attendant is no Edward Cullen; we soon learn that her odd behavior and rigorous training made her in charge of leading people to this room in which they are faced with a reel of tape. The conversation eventually leads to a horrifying realization. Aronov said, “The attendant really does have a heart, even though it doesn’t always seem like it.” About his choice to direct “Tape,” Aronov said “I was looking for a short play since it was my first time directing, and I also really didn’t want a boring play. This one really caught my eye.”