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TO FEB. 1

Young love may be sweet, but young sex is usually just a mess. While plenty of people have reached this conclusion with no more assistance than a few purloined minibottles of Jack Daniel’s and a gas-station-bathroom condom, the Studio Theatre Secondstage’s production of Christopher Shinn’s Four drives it home in a way alternately amusing and somber. June (Scott Kerns) is a 16-year-old Connecticut boy; among his problems are being gay, closeted, and named June. On the Fourth of July, he meets up with Internet beau Joe (David Lamont Wilson; pictured, with Kerns), a black literature professor with a wife and teenage daughter, whose own problems include a penchant for motel sex with high-school boys. Meanwhile, a parallel story line finds Joe’s bright, sexy daughter Abigayle (Maya Lynne Robinson) simultaneously seducing and submitting to Dexter (Cesar Guadamuz), a cocky Latino junior-college basketball player. Robinson plays Abigayle with a defiant attitude that eventually dominates even Dexter’s sports-stud swagger, and the reasons for the attraction are a bit mystifying at first. But when viewed alongside the tryst between confident, manipulative Joe and the painfully fragile June, one possible reason for their romance emerges: Being young and horny obscures a great deal of common sense. Shinn threatens to leave some of his characters hanging as the play draws to a close, but Kate Davis’ tight direction keeps their personal messes from becoming an artistic one. The show runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., to Sunday, Feb. 1, on the Studio Theatre’s Secondstage, 1333 P St. NW. $25. (202) 332-3300. (Mike DeBonis)