John Logan’s play, Red. Winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play.
Presented by The Actors Studio of Newburyport
November 1 - November 17, 2013
When Mark Rothko was a young man, art was a lonely thing, yet he called that time, ‘a golden age when we all had nothing to lose and a vision to gain’. He called the 1960’s, ‘a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them.’ The iconic artist killed himself in 1970.
Winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play, Red, is set in the late 1950’s inside Mark Rothko’s New York City studio. The action centers on the artist’s completion of three pieces commissioned for the Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC and on his adjustment to his new assistant, Ken. Because of Rothko’s deep commitment to his anti-establishment philosophy, he is horrified to find his art becoming a commodity on the world market. The tension between his primal motivation as an artist and the momentum of his fame fuels this drama. Ken finds himself in an all out ritual initiation as an artist and as a man while he wrestles with the great artist’s mercurial temperament.
Other artists explain the uniqueness of Rothko’s work in that, ‘the beauty of painting extends into the beauty of the image’. Mr. Logan’s play explores the personality and passion of Mark Rothko in a notably visceral way, supportive of the physicality of Rothko’s style of painting. The world of this play offers intriguing perspective on this titanic artist who remained contrary and enigmatic right to the end of his life. The character, Ken, serves as a catalyst, exposing the mystic contradictions in his visionary mentor. The same can be said of this play as was said about the painter, it uses feeling, movement, illumination, tension, and time to deliver a powerful experience.
Raw and provocative, Red is a searing portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting