Ovation Stage brings the renowned artist Mark Rothko to vivid life in an impassioned production of John Logan’s Red.
This is the first play I’ve attended at Ovation Stage, and I was very pleased with the quality of the production. The set, which includes beautiful reproduction Rothko paintings, is simple and works well for the tiny Three Penny Theater. The technical aspects of the performance were smooth, and the two-man cast was excellent.
Steve Buri plays Rothko with a sometimes frightening intensity, but still captures some of the play’s softer moments well. Kyle Burrows’ portrayal of Ken is a bit naive at the start, but he shows his character’s teeth as the show goes on. The actors play well off of each other, and were well-cast in their roles. Penny Kline’s understated direction allows the actors to come across naturally, which is impressive in a show that could so easily go overboard.
There is not a whole lot of action in Red — save for a few outbursts from Rothko and a brief painting scene — but the dialogue runs along at a good pace, and the two actors handle nearly two hours of dense script very well.
The play’s discussion of art, its significance, and its meaning puts me in mind of Steven Dietz’ Inventing Van Gogh, which is definitely high praise considering how much I loved Van Gogh. Red feels a bit more modern though both plays are of a similar vintage, and Red goes along at a bit quicker pace.
I was inspired to take a closer look at the artists and books referenced in the play’s dialogue. This fact alone tells me Red is good theater. Any show that makes me want to take action after seeing it is well worth the price of admission.
More information and tickets can be found HERE.