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When it comes to drama school shows, automatically lowering ones expectations may sometimes prove to be delightfully wrong, as was the case when soon-to-graduate acting student, Galla Borowski, was cast in a leading role in Tape by Stephen Belber, staged by the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre, entirely off Broadway. A complex psychological insight into the human psyche, the plot sensitively outlines the contradicting and even conflicting agendas, interests and pretensions evolving around the different characters, whether subliminal or fully conscious, overt or otherwise.
In a moment of despair, while trying to deal with the tragic by any means possible, the heroine lies on the bed with her back to her two male counterparts, and the subtle disparity between her words and the drama on her face is only visible to the wall. And the audience. Placing the mentioned bed stage front, facing the audience, was just one of director Andrew Neisler’s many clever decisions, facilitating a rich, detailed depiction of the characters’ complexity, and enabling the unfolding of various traits layer by layer, awarding the audience with a deep, unsettling drama and a fascinating performance by the young actress and her two colleagues.
The play tells of the attempt, at a reunion of three old high school friends, to cope with the enforced resurfacing of a traumatic past event (which did or did not occur) and its ramifications, all of which thicken as the plot evolves in dramatic turns of events, and culminates in a surprising act of empowerment.
With a sensitive, insightful depiction of a variegated array of emotions (from repression and denial, through subtle defensives and up to the raging, scorching heat emanating from grave injury), actress Galla Borowski, a seemingly bizarre choice of casting at first, considerably younger than the character played, turned out to be an exciting and moving performer. A couple of inquired details further accentuated how those attributes are anything but evident. Her previous stage experience had mainly focused on music (writing, singing and playing, Jazz mostly) with a couple of bands.
She was born in Munich and in addition to English and German also speaks French (all absolutely accent free).
A similar casting choice allowed the two other promising young actors, Schuyler Winter Jr. and Hamish Carmichael, to deliver an impressive performance: the former – both appalling and endearing, and mainly captivatingly funny as the lost and self-conflicted one, captive of his own ego; whereas the latter charmed his way through a seemingly easy, natural depiction of the antagonist of the story.
Photo by EaglebrookSchool