Red by John Logan
I chose this week’s play because I follow the Tony Awards pretty religiously. I watch it every year (it’s usually on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend) and I try to get an idea of what plays are doing well over on Broadway because they may end up coming over here. That’s what happened with God of Carnage a couple of year’s back. I watched the Tony’s, it received the Best Play Award, STC brought it out here, I bought a ticket, was blown away by the show and so the following year I became a member. I was so excited to have plays from overseas coming here that I jumped at the chance to be able to see anything that was going. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to see August: Osage County and Terminus to name a few.
The only background I had about Red was that it had won the Best Play Tony Award. I didn’t realise it was based on the life of a real artist. In all honesty, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. There is potential to create monologue’s for both Ken and Rothko, the two male characters. There is the metaphor of red vs. black, life vs. death. You get the sense that Rothko is hypocritical and full of himself and that Ken is keen to learn and eventually has been with Rothko enough to build a confidence that allows him to form, articulate and challenge Rothko’s opinions. The five scenes felt somewhat detached however and I think this is a play you really need to see in order to get the full effect of the tension between the characters and the story.
It’s definitely worth reading however because the dialogue captures some aspects of life in a truly succint and poignant way. Thus is the beauty of playwrights for me.