by Andy Bragen
LOOP TAPE is an exploration of memory, sound, time, and decay. Underscored throughout, the play takes its structure from music, degrading, looping and repeating, like an aging cassette tape. It excavates and conflates past and present, creating a strange and phantasmagorical mash-up ofpresent and 1980’s New York City, a palimpsest wherein layers of municipal architecture and personal memory echo off each other.
Some boxes on stage. Some junk. Perhaps a sales rack. Perhaps a chair, a couple of bar stools. All spaces exist at once. All times exist at once. Leo is in PJ’s. He’s emptying a box, with some sporting goods, and other sorts of items. Elsewhere, Emmanuel, who speaks with a French accent. Leo stops when he hears him.
So, yes, I went away. I was 22. She went back to America. Her year was up, and I could’ve gone, but I did not want that. She was mad at me too. There were other women, certain things I should not have done. I was 22.
I went east, to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal. Afghanistan: shit. Crazy times there. Not crazy like now – now it’s all fucked up, the Russians they’ve been there a while now, and everyone hates the Russians. But back then, Afghanistan. The hashish: shit. And the opium. Kandahar, Kabul, Varanasi, Kathmandu. The Hippie Trail. Not like now where you can make credit card calls from a payphone. My family I did not speak to for years.
Many things to do – sometimes move a little hash, sometimes drive the bus. Assist a diplomat, work at a monastery, carry a carpet across a border – there are so many ways to live.
She wrote me poste restante. I told her where – Istanbul, Teheran, Kabul, Dharamsala, Kathmandu. I said, write me here, or there, or write me at this place, or that. Who knows when, but I will be there someday.
And then the world went crazy and so I left Kabul, and I went to France. Not much to say of that, except it is bull shit. And Jane? I did not know where Jane was.
He notices Leo.
Manny, it’s me, Leo.
Go fuck yourself.
The first chords of “The Sound of Silence” start.
Leo, with a gray vest in his hand, listens, eventually joining in.
...Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Leo’s pregnant wife Mary appears, in her nightgown.
Well, yeah. I couldn’t sleep. Wine?
Not such a good idea.
Just a sip. It might relax you.
You’re the one who’s up.
I thought I’d get started on some of that closet stuff.
You were singing.
Just a minute ago. I heard you in the bedroom.
I thought it was in my head.
The Sound of Silence, no?
Yeah. That’s the one.
Past and present, on the sales floor of a sporting goods store, in Leo and Mary’s apartment, at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, in the basement where the bodies are buried. All spaces exist at once. They echo through each other, like a cassette tape that’s borne multiple recordings and re-recordings.
Production and Development History
Developed and read in the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab: 2011.