“ Red ” by John Logan won almost every major award in London when it premiered in 2009 and went on to do the same in New York the following year. This brilliant play by John Logan (The Last Samurai, Gladiator, Any Given Sunday) speculates about one of the most enigmatic incidents in the 20th Century art world.
In 1958, the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko was commissioned, for an astounding sum, to paint a series of murals for the cutting edge Seagram Building on Park Avenue. After completing the works, he decides to keep them and returns every penny of his commission. Years later, he donates the works to the Tate Gallery in London and commits suicide.
The play introduces a fictitious assistant who engages Rothko in arguments and conversations that ultimately make us understand why he might decide to withdraw his work from the commission.
Playing Rothko is theater veteran Bart Guingona who also directs. He is matched line for line by another veteran, also a director, albeit one generation younger, Joaquin Valdes playing the fictional assistant Ken.
Bart is known for playing intense, driven characters (Hamlet, John Proctor, Oedipus, etc.) while Joaquin, who started his career at the age of 9 (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), is carving out a name for himself as a film and commercial director. People sat up when he won the an award for his first short “Bulong” at the Beijing Film Festival and then took further notice of his considerable skill and talent when he released “Dagim.”
Although these two directors now find themselves busy doing work outside the theater, each one finds himself gravitating back to what both consider a “true love.”
“ Red ” the play is a dramatic look at the artistic process and it is both gripping and emotional and never less than intelligent. In a series of scenes, the two characters trade wit and barbed emotions provoking us to think about the tension between art and commerce; the cycles of fashion and obsolescence; the dynamic between teacher and student, and most touchingly, the relationship between forebear and offspring.
“ Red ” is produced by Actor’s Actors Inc. and CSB’s The Vito Cruz Project.
“ RED” is set to open on February 22, 2103 - 7:30 P.M. at CSB - SDA Theater, 5/F College of St. Benilde School of Design And Arts located at Pablo Ocampo St., Malate, Manila. The other playdates are on Feb. 23; March 1 and 2, 2013.
Tickets are available at Ticketworld 8919999 or through 09159108098. Like us, www.facebook.com/TheNecessaryTheatre.