I was invited to a "Blogger Night" showing of the off-Broadway play Red Light Winter followed by a Q&A and happy hour. Of course my invite also said that I would be under no obligation to post anything on my blog but any coverage would be appreciated. I agreed to go, free tickets and all, but inwardly knew I'd feel guilty if I didn't write anything about the show. Luckily I didn't have to worry about that because the show was really enjoyable. In fact, it's plays like Red Light Winter and the musical Altar Boyz that remind me that there are some great off-Broadway shows out there too...amidst the crap.
The play is both dramatic and comedic and starts like a dysfunctional buddy buddy film, almost like Sideways but with a younger cast and set in Amsterdam instead of the Napa Valley. Then it delves into topics like depression, competition and unrequited love when the two buddies spend an evening in the Red Light District with a young prostitute, creating an incestuous love triangle. The second act takes place in the East Village a year later and shows how the characters have and haven't changed since that night last winter.
I thought the acting was really strong and captivating, especially by the two main guys (Gary Wilmes and Christopher Denham) as was the dialog, although the monologues in the second half were too lengthy and started to loose me. Overall the show made me laugh out loud a few times and then made me feel depressed while pondering the idea "why do people fall in love with the wrong people?" which was clearly a theme in this play. Oh and there was both male and female nudity on stage but not gratuitously.
The production originally sold-out in the Steppenwolf Theater production in Chicago and reunites the leading male actors and director & playwright, Adam Rapp who recently wrote the screenplay for the Will Farrell, Ed Harris film Winter Passing. Red Light Winter is now on 27 Barrow Street in the West Village right near Sushi Samba and 7th Avenue.
The Q&A after the show was a bit painful not because it went into too much detail but because there wasn't much enthusiasm or discussion at all. I even asked the first question after the prolonged silence once the actors and writer were on stage and looking at the audience to start firing. I can't stand awkward silence so I felt like I had to ask something to get things moving and it worked...somewhat. Then there was the after party at Pizza Bar (part new age pizza parlor, part bar and lounge) in the Meat Packing District was pretty chill. The writer and one of the actors came along too, but since I was having fun talking with my friend and watching the weird psychedelic cartoons that were playing on the walls and sipping my drink, I didn't socialize much or meet any other bloggers. Ah well.