By Kyle Poluyko
For its penultimate production of the 2013/2014 season Magnus Theatre offers audiences an exciting and commanding two-character biographical drama with the 2010 Tony Award® Best Play winner Red by American writer John Logan about renowned expressionist and abstract artist Mark Rothko.
In his New York studio in the late 1950s, Rothko is painting several murals for the new, expensive and chic Four Seasons restaurant. To his assistant, Ken, he gives orders as he constructs the frames, mixes paints and gives complexion to the canvases. As he examines his paintings, Rothko does so filled with a bristling, patriarchal anxiety. Rothko, well-known to have been a man of passionate opinion and vast academic opinion, desperately wants to be understood.
Ken, a fast learner, is soon matching wits with Rothko and presumptuously begins to question the master’s theories of art and his affinity to work on the commercial project at hand. Their collaborations in the studio very quickly devolve into contentious dialogue between master and student about Rothko’s impetus and motivations for painting, and heated debates ensue. The younger Ken advances the voice of a new artistic generation that poses threat to Rothko’s influence. “There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend… One day the black will swallow the red.”
Directed by Mario Crudo, Magnus Theatre’s Red runs from March 13 through March 29. For more information call 345-8552 or visit magnus.on.ca