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Red Light Winter

by Adam Rapp

Okay, admit it, you clicked on this one for the picture.

Does it ever happen to you where you've read a play a few times and as you're re-reading you still forget what happens? That happened to me reading Red Light Winter. I've probably read this play three times, at least, and I could not remember what happened at the end (I mean, I remembered the big thing, but not how they got there.) It made for a very enjoyable reading experience, but caused some alarm with regard to my long term memory..

Oh well.

I love reading introductions. I feel like they are a glimpse of the day-to-day life of the playwright. The voice is different - oftentimes honest and straightforward, even humorous. Rapp's introduction to Red Light Winter was beautiful to read on its own. He mentions his inspiration for the play, and what drew him to write this complicated love triangle. He found himself interested in:
how we hold on to the tiniest details when we encounter someone we're bewitched by, and how the other person might not remember the most obvious things from that meeting; the cruelty and pain of being disremembered versus the alchemy of selective memory and how we twist and distort it to rationalize and justify what we want to believe about the object of our affection.
So sad. Even sadder that it happens every day. To wonderful people.

The first time I read this play I was shocked. In the best of ways. I enjoyed the dark humor and twists and turns. This time, I was less shocked, but more appreciative of the complexities within the characters. I recently read Rapp's Essential Self-Defense (post to come soon) and feel that I'm beginning to understand Rapp's sense of humor a little better.

There were some lines in this play that made me laugh out loud. For example, once Christine/a lets down her walls and starts to tell Matt some of her truths, it's revealed that she used to be an actress. Matt asks her, "What was the last play you did?" She responds:
Fucking Oklahoma. But it was pretty experimental. It was set in a small engine-repair shop and all the townspeople were part machine. 
I mean, come ON. That is brilliant. We kind of all have a story like that. Also, I would pay to see that version. Well, not a lot. But, like 5 bucks? Definitely.

This time around, Matt was the most interesting character for me. His artistic and personal struggles seem totally believable and my heart went out to him. He was dealt a rough hand by having Davis as a friend and a career that results in enormous pressure. Through Matt's voice, Rapp tells us what every playwright must feel at some point:
Yeah, with playwriting there's lots of false starts. Ill-fated first acts, etcetera. I blame it all on Shakespeare. He stole all my ideas like three hundred years before I was even born. He futuristically ruined my career.
That's why he's a badass.

Tomorrow's Play: The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh

1 comment:

jim smith said...

I read this play I was shocked. In the best of ways. I enjoyed the dark humor and twists and turns.
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