John Logan’s critically acclaimed play, “Red,” a searing portrait of the 20th century’s most influential abstract expressionist painter, Mark Rothko, opened this weekend for a four-week run at the Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St. in Ojai.
Tickets are $24. To purchase, go to ojaiact.org.
The production stars Brian Robert Harris as Rothko and Remy Muloway as his assistant, Ken. The play is co-directed by Aileen-Marie Scott and David Henderson.
“Red” is an intense two-man drama played over two years in Mr. Rothko’s New York City studio, where he works feverishly with his assistant to complete the biggest commission in the history of modern art.
When his assistant challenges his ambition, Mr. Rothko is faced with the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also be his undoing.
For the set, designer-actor-director-artist Taylor Kasch stripped the stage down to the walls to create Mr. Rothko’s studio, housed in the gym of a youth betterment association built in the 1880s in New York’s Bowery district.
Ojai artist and illustrator Bianca Rice created the trompe l’oeil walls and windows. For a set that looks like a big empty space, there have been a lot of creative people working on it.
The “not really Rothko” paintings that the actors work with during the play were created by Ojai Studio artists Gayel Childress and Pamela Grau and Ventura artists Otis Bradley and Judy Merrill.
Co-director Aileen-Marie Scott selected which Rothko paintings to copy to best illuminate the artist’s interior struggle between red and black.
The traditional opening gala was postponed and will be replaced with a 1950s themed “Cocktails and Conversation” gathering with a date to be announced.