"Red Light Winter" (Mary Arrchie Theatre): Sublime Cast Lingers...sometimes too long!

"Red Light Winter" (Mary Arrchie Theatre):  Sublime Cast Lingers...sometimes too long!

Connection!?  It’s the perfect excuse not to pursue a relationship.  ‘I didn’t feel a connection.‘  What exactly was missing?  Sweaty palms?  Stomach fluttering?  G-tingling? We use the absence of this determining sensation to cease continuation.  When we do feel IT... some physical symptom... our pursuit knows no bounds.  We want THAT feeling to continue.  So, we go for IT!  We analyze every text, gesture, action to build a case that the attraction is mutual.  My life observation is the more someone describes their relationship with ‘we have this connection,‘ the less likely that the other person shares the sentiment.

Mary Arrchie Theatre presents RED LIGHT WINTER.  Davis is a publisher. Matt is a playwright.  Christina is a prostitute.  Each individual wants to fulfill a need.  Davis wants a different lust. Matt wants a different love.  Christina wants a different life.  Each feels a *connection* to someone.  They believe redemption is in that relationship.  Davis needs Matt.  Matt needs Christina.  Christina needs Davis.  RED LIGHT WINTER engages in harsh realities.

The best part of this show are the people.  Playwright Adam Rapp developed real flawed characters.  They are messed up and totally relatable.  Under the direction of Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, the threesome is outstanding!  Their performances are authentic depictions of stuck people looking to be saved.  In the most likable role, Dan Behrendt (Matt) is a fine mixture of earnest and pathetic.  I don’t know whether to hug or slap Behrendt.  He is sweetly obtuse.  Dereck Garner (Davis) is deplorable!  Garner charms with fun-loving, high energy.  He seems complicated.  But as his story unravels, Garner reveals he is simply a dick-wipe.  Sasha Gioppo continually transforms.  Gioppo is heartbreakingly complex.  She plays it forcefully, brassy one minute and then hesitantly, vulnerable the next.  Gioppo strips down, literally and figuratively, for moments of pure naked humanity.

This cast is sublime.  This story goes deep into dark spots of humanity.  The speed bump for me was some of the directorial choices.  Garcia paces it with a long drawn out reveal. In the initial scene, Behrendt sits at his computer... for a long time.  At first, the decision seems intriguing and natural.  In later scenes, it feels contrived and affected.  Part of the issue is the intimate Mary Arrchie space.  As the actor takes his time to build the moment in silence onstage, offstage I’m aware of every noise.  Since there is no theatrical action to focus on, the audience's movement breaks the still effect.  Someone creaks in a chair.  Someone drops a cell phone.  Someone gets up to use the bathroom.   The quiet connection between me and the drama is lost in the clunky habitation of being in the room.

Still, I would recommend being in THAT room.  RED LIGHT WINTER is closing soon.  Don’t miss the opportunity to see Rapp’s characters actualized in powerful portrayals.

Someone I share a mutual connection to Tom Waits with, James describes it with ‘sticky, tricky triangle.’

Running Time:  Two hours and forty-five minutes includes an intermission

At Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan

Written by Adam Rapp

Directed by Carlo Lorenzo Garcia

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 7pm

Thru December 18th

Buy Tickets at www.maryarrchie.com

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