Matthew Reddin
Youngblood’s “Red Light Winter”

Sexual, emotional intense

By - Jan 23rd, 2011 04:00 am
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L-R: Andrew Edwin Voss, David Rothrock and Tess Cinpinski in Youngblood Theatre’s “Red Light Winter.”

Warnings about nudity and sexual themes come with Youngblood Theater‘s Red Light Winter, which opened Friday (Jan. 28) at the Alchemist Theatre.

The backstory of this production might add some intensity. Youngblood originally staged Red Light Winter, by Adam Rapp, in January of 2010. The company cancelled the run when actor Andrew Edwin Voss was attacked and hospitalized shortly after opening weekend. A year later, with Voss fully recovered, the company is remounting the production with the same cast and director, Benjamin James Wilson. A visceral, sexually charged, and achingly poignant show, Red Light Winter is the kind of the play that makes you want every ounce of closure you can get.

The play spans two nights in the lives of its three characters, one in Amsterdam and the other a cold night back in the States. As the play begins, friends Davis (Voss) and Matt (David Rothrock) are on an adventure abroad. Davis behaves like a frat boy.  Matt stares at his computer as he tries to write the play he’s been working on for months. Everything changes when Davis brings home an Amsterdam prostitute, Christina (Tess Cinpinski). She sparks new emotional tensions between Davis and Matt and reignites old ones.

The plot is direct: Double unrequited love causes the revelation of one truth after another as the dominoes fall in the second act. As they do, emotional fevers rise in the characters.

Matt is the nerd with feelings, powerful ones that drive him to impassioned, rapid-fire monologues on everything from his former girlfriend to his gastrointestinal problems. Davis is an asshole. His immature posing hides the darker self within. Christina is the hooker with a heart of gold, but Cinpinski takes care to conceal exactly where she’s throwing that heart at a given moment.

In the intimate space of the Alchemist, the three personalities burst like flash bulbs in your eyes. The love, rage and even the apathy can daze you, at times. And yet, a strange breed of brash, organic humor punctuates the play and periodically releases the tension. We need that release almost as much as the characters do.

Youngblood Theatre’s Red Light Winter runs through Feb. 5 at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Tickets are $15 at the Alchemist website.

Categories: Theater

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