Red, a play by John Logan

Starring Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch

This play is a two-hander between famed artist Mark Rothko and his recently hired young assistant. It takes place during the latter part of Rothko’s career, right after he’s accepted a large sum of money as a commission to produce a number of murals for the recently completed Seagram Building on Park Avenue. Over the course of its hour and a half long run on stage, Rothko and his assistant go back and forth discussing and arguing a litany of subjects, mostly related to all thing’s art, and mainly the difference between creating it for yourself or for others.

The show is well-paced, and treats the audience like intelligent beings, allowing us to eavesdrop on a conversation where both sides make good points. While it doesn’t hurt to know a little about the art world beforehand, it’s not a requirement.

While I’m not crazy about Enoch’s stiff performance (though I would listen to an argument that he played his character the way it was meant to be), Molina gives a towering effort inhabiting the rage and wonder and brilliance of Mark Rothko, and it makes the whole show go.

John Logan is a terrific writer, having also penned gems like Gladiator, Skyfall and Rango. This play is so well written that it could easily be taught in a college lecture hall as a philosophical case study.

Plainly, this show is a must watch. I’m talking right now, before YouTube takes it down! It’s worth your time.  

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