The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Department of Performing Arts will present its production of Stephen Belber’s “Tape” tomorrow through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Burke-Hawthorne Theatre.

“Tape,” according to the playbill, “tells the story of three high school friends reuniting after 10 years who discover that the things that never get said cause underlying grief to eventually break through.”

The one-act show takes the form of a tense conversation in a dingy motel-room in Lansing, Mich., where aspiring filmmaker Jon (Jeremy Drewery) has come to showcase his new film at a festival and catch up with his high school best friend, Vince (Bailey Herbert).

Vince, however, has not come all the way from Oakridge, Mich., just to catch up. He believes that 10 years ago Jon date-raped Amy Randall (Ashley Brown), a girl they both dated, and manages to manipulate Jon into a confession. Then, not only does he tape the entire conversation, he also invites the alleged victim to join in the awkward reunion.

“It’s basically the three of them getting together to discuss that event,” explained Drewery, a junior theater major. “It’s very dark, very gloomy, and it’s just an exploration of perception.”

“Tape” is directed by assistant professor of theater Camille Bulliard, an alumna of UL Lafayette’s Choreographic Design program with a graduate’s degree in theater from Southern Methodist University. Bulliard said she chose this play because it would be a good opportunity for the actors to work on character development.

“I thought it would be a really good kind of laboratory experience for the students,” she said. “There are no scene changes. It’s just this one small space and really it’s just focusing on the work of the actor.”

Drewery agreed that the simple setting of the play made it easier to get into character.

“We’re in a Motel 6 hotel room and that’s where we stay. It kind of helps us,” he said. “The playwright, the genius that he was, allows us to sit in this uncomfortable state. Because if you’re accused of rape or you’re trying to accuse someone of rape, or you’re walking into being embarrassed to have thought you were raped, just sitting in that air, in that presence, is just crazy and you have nowhere to go.”

The actors have been working on developing their characters since the September auditions. They spent last semester, as well as the Christmas break, just working on learning their lines and learning who their characters are supposed to be.

According to Drewery, spending so much time inside a character’s head can get pretty disorienting.

“When we first got cast, I was very excited to play John,” he said, “but getting deeper into him and laying on the character, I discovered that he’s a very insecure guy. That’s fun to play, but sitting in this person for months is very draining.”

Another thing that makes playing Jon a draining experience for Drewery is the ironic coincidence that out of the three stars, he was the only African American cast.

“For me to be the one allegedly accused of rape,” he explained, “that’s very heavy to me.”

Drewery said Bulliard had no intentions of casting that way and, in fact, did not even recognize the possible issue until Drewery pointed it out.

The concept of interracial relationships was not something the playwright was trying to portray, however, and although it may aid him in getting into character, Drewery said he does not wish to emphasize the issue in his performance.

“Still today, it’s a shame, but interracial dating is kind of taboo to some people and I just don’t get it,” he said. “But it helps to be, like, in shock that you would think I would do something like that, especially, I guess, if you think about the history. Back in the day, I would be lynched for thatfor even looking at someone like that. But, I don’t want to play that too hard for the audience because I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, including myself. So, I just stick to what the playwright has given us.”

Drewery said he hopes the audience leaves “Tape” with a better knowledge of themselves and who their real friends are.

“It’s about trust, definitely, and it’s also about knowledge of yourself. We want to portray that to the audience to be sure that everyone walks away being secure in who they are and, if they were in this situation, how they would handle it.

“I ask y’all to come and be open-minded,” he said, “because it’s a tough subject.”

According to Bulliard, the main lesson that “Tape” tries to impart is “about having a consciousness or awareness about how we live our lives.”

“I think the student body can probably connect with the basis about relationships and the mindless things we do in the young parts of our lives and the consequences they have later,” she added.

“Tape” will play at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 10-12. The production is intended for ages 14 and up, and tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for alumni and free to UL Lafayette students and faculty.