"Adult" is an odd euphemism for X-rated content. Red Light Winter, recently presented by Broken Glass at the Shadowbox Theatre, was adult in all senses of the word. It was graphic, but a few factors balanced the nudity, sex and coarse language.
Adam Rapp's 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist has a twisted plot with complex psychological overtones. The shock value was tamed a little more by the remarkable poise of Nicole Rae, who disrobed completely and engaged in starkly sexual scenes. But she put the audience at ease — even though the theater was so small that audience members could almost touch the actors.
I have reservations about the script, but I offer a tip of my hat to director Harold Gervais, who put together an excellent cast and kept them focused.
Matt (Richard Mayer) and Davis (Matt Story) are 20-something buddies who go to Amsterdam, Netherlands to indulge in its exotic but legal treats, mostly drugs. They are opposites: Matt is "quiet and nerdy," and Davis is "dickish and macho."
The friends were two sides of a love triangle. The woman started with Matt and ended up with Davis, and this is a sore point between them. The overly sensitive Matt hasn't slept with a woman in the three years since. Davis goes out and recruits a prostitute, Christina (Rae), who has a charming self-contained manner, and offers her as a gift to Matt, who is immediately smitten. But the love triangle problem repeats itself. Christina goes wild for Davis, claiming she loves having sex with him. Poor Matt becomes nervous and hardly knows what to do when she approaches him.
Mayer's nerd was believably torn by his unrequited love for Christina. Rae not only carried the difficult moments of nudity and sex with aplomb, she created a character who interacted believably with the others. Story gave us a villainous yuppie, although he was more buffoonish than charismatic.
The nudity, sex and lingo were all shocking. The plot was twisted, and the effect was like a fireworks display. You watched amazed, but didn't take away much to think about. Still, Broken Glass Productions offered an impressive cutting-edge drama. — Dalt Wonk