BY JOHN LOGAN
Produced March 2018 at The Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco
CREATIVE & PRODUCTION TEAM
DIRECTOR: Lana Palmer
SCENIC DESIGN: Giulio Cesare Perrone
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Taylor Wuthrich
SOUND & PROJECTION DESIGN: Lana Palmer
ROTHKO: Bruce Avery
KEN: Nick Moore
Master abstract expressionist Mark Rothko has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art, a series of murals for New York’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant. In the two fascinating years that follow, Rothko works feverishly with his young assistant, Ken, in his studio on the Bowery. But when Ken gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing. 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.
What brings them together makes sense on the level of emotion. Their intimacy advances through a coherent, passionately well-acted dance of desperation. Both seek recognition and truth.
THE BEST PLAY I HAVE SEEN IN THE PAST YEAR ★★★★★
The theatre space is small but the place is HUGE. The discussions between the angry/cantankerous artists and his bright new assistant are far more interesting & informed than the sort of discussions that occur in dorm rooms on a host of topics related to art, painting, social class, architecture. The staging is beautifully done.
– TodayTix review
At a pivotal point in the play, Rothko and his assistant Ken prime a canvas with red paint. Given the budget constraints, painting a fresh canvas every performance was not feasible. I designed a projection system that would allow the actors to ‘paint’ on a projection screen using fibre optic brushes. The image would then be projected back, in real-time, onto the canvas.
RED was produced by Bread & Butter Theatre at the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco, CA, opening March 22, 2018.