Adam Driver’s Arts in the Armed Forces Presents ‘Tape’

Well many are familiar with Adam Driver’s TV and film work, few are aware of his devotion to veterans.

As the founder of the organization Arts in Armed Forces, the Girls star has brought free theater events to military members for eight consecutive years – including Monday night’s performance at Studio 54 in New York City.

The Juilliard graduate, along with Keri Russell and Pablo Schreiber, came together for a staged reading of Stephen Belber’s one act play Tape.

Written in 2000, the drama follows three high school friends who reunite after ten years and are forced to confront a dark part of their pasts. The work, which was adapted for the screen by Richard Linklater a year after its release, tackles the issue of sexual assault through a haunting lens. At times, it veers into comedic territory that is sharp yet unnerving.

The riveting showcase was served well by the intense chemistry between the actors and their passionate interpretations of their characters. As Driver later pointed out, the three only read through the play once before, earlier in the day – allowing for a spontaneous and raw exploration.

Much of the performance stirred an emotional reaction from the audience – which was comprised almost entirely of veterans.

The performance marked Russell’s first return to the stage since her role in the 2004 off-broadway production of Fat Pig.

Among those who came out to support the show was the star’s The Americans co-star and partner Matthew Rhys – who coincidentally was starring with Driver in a production of Look Back in Anger when the creators of the FX hit took notice and decided to cast him in the series.

At the conclusion of the show, various servicemen and women expressed their gratitude for the event. Several stayed back to speak with the actors personally and engage with one another.

A three time Emmy nominee, Driver has starred in a string of high profile films in recent years – including Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yet the 32-year old has maintained a connection to theater – The Arts in Armed Forces being a bridge between his background as a Marine and his passion for the arts.

Additional attendees included Ann Curry, Shiloh Fernandez, Nev Schulman, Laura Perlongo, OITNB’s Alysia Reiner and Michael Chernus, David Alan Basche, Talking Head’s David Byrne, Michael Zegen, Louisa Krause, Adrian Martinez, Dan Amboyer, Britne  Oldford, Ben Rosenfield, Chaske Spencer, Sammi Rotibi, John Buffalo Mailer, Tovah Feldshuh, Rel Schulman, Henry Joost, Debra Granik, Desmin Borges, Chris Henry Coffey, Saidah Ekulona, Gibson Frazier and Tonye Patano.

-Justine Browning

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