Emmy Award Winning Director, Michael Jones has a great understanding of theatre as he directs the actors. He also, thankfully has a great understanding of the process visual artists have in creating their work. Every form of art is a reflection of the soul, and the two actors are tasked with using the actor’s soul to reveal the painterly soul. D. Lance Marsh as Mark Rothko and Aaron Wertheim as Ken are able to do so inspirationally.
All of the action takes place in Rothko’s studio set designed by Ben Hall. Painters in the audience see an ideal space for a painter in Hall’s delicious set. It looks exactly like an artist dreams of having except for the lack of north light, a particular that Rothko didn’t require. The paintings for this production are the work of artist John Williams, and they are excellent examples of Rothko. Williams also has his own completely different work hanging in the Freede Theatre lobby area. Kathryn Eader is the lighting designer for “Red” and her work is outstanding, as the paintings are lit so that the art is revealed beautifully. She not only lights the stage at performance level, she lights the space as a gallery director does to enhance the art. Andy Wallach is costume designer and sound design comes from Steve Emerson and Will Burns. Technically all the aspects mesh perfectly.
Marsh and Wertheim are superb in their roles; Marsh has profound intensity. His continual anxiety is balanced by the gentle strength of Wertheim. Almost as opposite sides of the same coin, one discerns a glint of steel fear lurking from the eyes of both as they struggle to hide within expressions that are unavoidable. One sees the passion and contradiction revealing the tragedy true artists must endure. It is necessary and it is brilliant.
Patrons may value knowing that there is no intermission in this production. “Red” is not a long show so coffee, pie and discussion may be an enjoyable end to the evening. This is a show that all creative people can relate too, and should see this weekend. “Red” is only being shown through November 24th so grab your favorite artist and head downtown. Curtain at CityRep is 7:30 to help with parking. For further information or ticket reservations visit www.cityrep.com or call the Civic Center Music Hall number 405-297-2264.