Stage West's RED Begins Tonight
What goes into the creation of a major piece of art? Does it flow like water out of the artist, or is it a struggle as painful as childbirth? Does pain lend it greater legitimacy? Stage West presents a searing look into the depths of an artist's ambition and vulnerability in John Logan's Red, beginning its 5-week run tonight, April 9.
The noted artist Mark Rothko has taken on an assistant (fictional) to aid him in the creation of a major series of paintings, the largest commission in the history of modern art, for the new Four Seasons Restaurant in New York. This assistant, Ken, is himself an aspiring painter, and is anxious to work for someone of Rothko's stature, even though he knows that it may prove a difficult task. "I am not your rabbi," Rothko tells him, "I am not your father, I am not your shrink, I am not your friend, I am not your teacher - I am your employer."
Their prickly 2-year relationship eventually gives Ken the confidence to challenge Rothko's views, and there are some epic (and occasionally funny) battles between the two. And Rothko must eventually recognize that what should be his crowning achievement may also prove his undoing.
Noted British critic Michael Billington, writing for The Guardian, said: "It's a measure of the play's success that it makes you want to rush out and renew acquaintance with Rothko's work."
John Logan received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Drama League awards for his play Red. This play premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in London and at the Golden Theatre on Broadway. He is the author of more than a dozen other plays including Never The Sinner and Hauptmann. His adaptation of Ibsen's The Master Builder premiered on the West End in 2003. As a screenwriter, Logan had three movies released in 2011: Hugo, Coriolanus and Rango. Previous film work includes Sweeney Todd (Golden Globe award); The Aviator (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and WGA nominations); Gladiator (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and WGA nominations); The Last Samurai; Any Given Sunday, and RKO 281 (WGA award, Emmy nomination).
Red is being directed by Stage West Co-Producer Dana Schultes. Fellow Co-Producer Jim Covault, last seen at Stage West as Don in The Unmentionables and Philippe in Heroes, will play Mark Rothko. Stage West Technical Director Nate Davis, last seen as Huckleberry Finn in Artisan Center Theatre's Big River and Justin in Uptown Players' Good Boys and True, will appear as Ken.
The set will be designed by Nate Davis, with lighting by Michael O'Brien and sound by Dana Schultes. Costume design will be handled by Michael Robinson and Dallas Costume Shoppe with props and set décor by Lynn Lovett.
Red will preview Thursday, April 9 at 7:30 and Friday, April 10 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, May 10. Performance times will be Thursday evenings at 7:30, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 3:00. The opening night reception will be Saturday, April 11. Ticket prices range from $30 to $34, with discounts for the preview performance, and for students, seniors, and military. Food service is available 90 minutes prior to performances (reservations are necessary), and the Friday Prix Fixe special (dinner and show for $42) will be available beginning April 17. Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org.
Photo by Buddy Myers