RED presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Nov. 12. You can read the show description here.
In the program for RED, Tina Tammaro’s article “The World of Mark Rothko” describes his artistic style in this way: “Rothko pulls us into a space pulsating with pure emotion. His paintings contain shapes created from multiple layers of rich color.”
RED is an intimate, two-actor, pulsating with emotion, 90-minute multiple-layered work. Which like Rothko’s artwork, becomes flat and loses impact from a distance.
Both Brian Dykstra as Mark Rothko and Matthew Carlson as Ken turn in some nice work. I especially enjoyed the final two scenes of the play. From Dykstra though, I never quite bought him as an artist. I also thought that Carlson appeared to be a tad too old for the role of Ken.
The set design by Michael Ganio creates intimacy by pushing the performance space to the downstage half of the stage. The staging by director Steven Woolf seems to overly-favor those seated directly in front of the performance area. Also, at times, the scenes did slip into two guys yelling at each other about painting and art.
Two things I found lacking from this production was the sense of the [circa 1958-1959] time-period and the sense of time passing in the character’s relationship.
Bottom line, an intimate play works best in an intimate theater. Perhaps better suited to the Shelterhouse, RED seems to lose its focus and intensity in the bigger space.
Click here for a complete list of show times, articles and other reviews for RED.
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