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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 1 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 44
Stop on red - Azeotrope offers a second chance to see its edgy inaugural play
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Stop on red - Azeotrope offers a second chance to see its edgy inaugural play

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

RED LIGHT WINTER
AZEOTROPE
(at ACT Theatre)
Through November 24


The tiny but mighty theatrical company, Azeotrope, has decided to remount its inaugural production of 2010, Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp. Azeotrope has partnered with ACT Theatre's Central Heating Lab, which has a revamped focus itself, as new Artistic Associate Director John Langs tightens the partnerships to ensure a more consistent artistic experience. However, Azeotrope decided to produce two plays in repertory (rotating presentation at the same time), and chose 25 Saints by Joshua Rollins to partner with Red Light Winter.

Director Desdemona Chiang works with the same tight trio of acting talent from 2010 in this dark but funny drama with Richard Nguyen Sloniker, Tim Gouran, and Mariel Neto reprising their work. Those three then join three other actors in 25 Saints.

The company decided that it was worthwhile bringing back this production due to the relatively small number of people who saw it the first time, since it was their inaugural production and they were an unknown quantity, making it riskier to take a chance on them. Now, having won accolades from both TPS' Gregory Awards and Seattle Theater Writers' Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, and much positive critical attention, we know them to be consummate producers of edgy material with a keen theatrical finesse.

The script (which is overly intellectual and talky at times) revolves around Matt (Sloniker), a despondent and suicidal playwright desperate to find connection with another human. His apparent 'best' friend Davis (Gouran), whose idea of helping Matt is to find him a prostitute in Amsterdam, is proof that Matt doesn't value himself enough to dump this narcissistic, unscrupulous 'friend' (who, by the way, stole Matt's girlfriend years earlier and plans to marry her).

A DUBIOUS FAVOR
Davis finds Christina (Neto) via Amsterdam's infamous 'windows' and presents her to Matt as a way of cheering him up. But his gift is somewhat sullied by the fact that he's already partaken of her favors. Worse, Christina has fallen into a weird kind of love with Davis, believing that somehow their union was extra-specially special and that Davis showed her a side of himself that was tender and vulnerable. This is evidence that Christina has an incredibly deep disconnect and a deep denial that she's prostituting herself. In fact, she's presented as a lounge singer at first, rather than a prostitute.

Matt also creates a fake intimacy with Christina and takes it for a real connection. These are three sad people. They are all smart in an intellectual way, but clueless when it comes to relationships and human connection.

Chiang's direction keeps the tension tight in a small, breathless space. She also cleverly manages the required very explicit sex with full nudity of two characters. It's handled sensitively and effectively without unduly confronting the audience. For more information, go to www.acttheatre.org/Tickets/OnStage/RedLightWinter25Saints or call (206) 292-7676.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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