BWW Reviews: RED Vibrantly Paints The Stage
I just saw the opening night of RED by John Logan at Boise Contemporary Theater. Wow. They are, aside from Idaho Shakespeare Festival and the National Touring Shows, the only professional theatre in Boise and they proved why.
When you walked in the theatre you are met by Michael Baltzel's set, Raquel Davis' light design and Bernadine Cockey's props. They were a perfect blend telling us that the performance takes place in an artist's warehouse studio. The back wall of the studio was the actual back brick wall of the theatre.
The show was about the artist, Mark Rothko. Rothko is performed by Arthur Glen Hughes and he is exceptional in his portrayal. He starts the show by staring at a painting in the direction of the audience. He was able to grab our attention and make us wonder what he was looking at. He made us. That is a strong ability in an actor to be able to just stand and fill the space. Reggie Gowland played Ken and was a good match for Mr. Hughes.
"What do you see?" was the first line in the play. I saw something that was wonderfully written. There are so many lessons that he was teaching Ken, who was basically an intern for Mr. Rothko. This takes place in the time that Mark Rothko was painting his commission for the restaurant The Four Seasons. Rumor has it that the restaurant has good food, this play has delicious language. The quality and usage of the vocabulary the author choose has been a delight to listen to.
The scene changes were set in such a way that made me think of the movie collages when they try to show that time has gone by. I was interested in watching the action of the scene changes as much as the action of the play itself.
There was one three to four minute scene that most directors, unlike Mathew Clark, try to stay away from. Both
of the actors had their backs to the audience. They were base painting a, I would guess, 10 ft x 10 ft canvas against the back wall. I was entranced watching the dance of the painters. I noticed things like Turner was a very horizontal painter when he had the chance. Rothko had no continuous direction; if I had to choose one for him it would be curved.
There are many "one liners" (I do not mean jokes, although there were a few) that grabbed my attention. I will share just two of them, and they maybe paraphrased. "Be Specific - No! Be Exact." "Silence is so accurate."
I would absolutely recommend this show for anyone. I know I love to see theatre based on a true story that makes me want to research and learn more about the subject of the play.
RED is produced by Boise Contemporary Theater and plays at 854 Fulton St, Boise, ID. Continues Now through November 2. Showtimes are listed and tickets are available through http://bctheater.org/1314-season/red/
Photo Credit: photo taken from a video by Cody Giddings
Pictured (left to right) Reggie Gowland and Arthur Glen Hughes