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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Second Thought Theatre’s ‘Red Light Winter’ paints heartbreaking portrait

Natalie+Young%2C+Alex+Organ+and+Drew+Wall+star+in+Adam+Rapp%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CRed+Light+Winter%E2%80%9D++on+stage+at+the+Addison+Theatre+Centre+through+May+7.
David Leggett/STT
Natalie Young, Alex Organ and Drew Wall star in Adam Rapp’s “Red Light Winter” on stage at the Addison Theatre Centre through May 7.

Natalie Young, Alex Organ and Drew Wall star in Adam Rapp’s “Red Light Winter” on stage at the Addison Theatre Centre through May 7. (David Leggett/STT)

 

“Red Light Winter” is a love story at its core. It’s a stripped down, uncompromising exploration of the power of a moment; of another person; of an unrequited feeling.

Second Thought Theatre’s production of Adam Rapp’s heartbreaking play will gnaw at your soul in ways that theater often attempts to, but rarely achieves.

On the surface, the story is simple and common. Two college buddies, Davis (Alex Organ) and Matt (Drew Wall), are in Amsterdam years after graduation.

Davis is a successful, cocky book publisher and Matt is a struggling, melancholy playwright. Their friendship is stale and bitter, as demonstrated by the telling arguments that play out in front of Christina (Natalie Young) the prostitute that Davis has hired for Matt from a window in the famed Red Light District.

Thus begins a severe, yet compelling exploration of human desire, love and significance.

Director Regan Adair has taken a challenging play that deals with sincere human emotions and allowed the scenes to unfold in real time.Uncomfortable silences suffocate scenes with an exhilarating poignancy. Each movement and each glance is calculated, yet meaningful.

The attention to detail is made especially evident by Adair’s promenade stage style that has the audience on either side, as if at a tennis match.

But the actors will blow you away. This cast has the greatest emotional presence and sincerity of any Dallas show this year, thus far.

In the wrong hands, the graphic content and the harsh themes of this play would lose any humanity and could easily come across as disrespectful, but the three actors are respectful and wholehearted in their treatment of the characters.

Organ is realistically insolent and detestable. He manages to speak Davis’ pretentious lines with a believable intelligence, which allows his friendship with Matt to be comprehensible.

Wall makes huge strides as a naturalistic actor in this play, as the broken, yet compassionate Matt. His desperation appears to inform his lovesickness, which pushes him toward Christina as his one consolation.

Young proves herself to be one of the inexcusably unheralded actresses in town with her stunning portrayal of Christina.This alluring actress combines sexuality and desolation in a way that forces the audience to feel her distress.

The entire cast generously opens up to the play in a way that allows the graphic content to have its place.

A play that could so easily be brushed off as contrived or merely shocking is given a treatment that is affecting and thought-provoking. Second Thought Theatre – you’ve broken my heart again. Consider this my written ovation.

“Red Light Winter” runs through May 7, with rumors of an extended run (but don’t take your chances!).

Performances are in the studio theatre of the Addison Theatre Centre.

SMU students receive $12 tickets at the door with their student id.

Warning: this play is NC-17. It contains full male/female nudity, drugs and graphic content. Must be 18 years or older to attend.

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