Photo: Joan Marcus
The artist Mark Rothko (Alfred Molina) sits staring at a canvas. His new assistant, Ken (Eddie Redmayne), enters stage right, dressed in a suit and nervous. Rothko points at a canvas and asks Ken, "What do you see?" He then holds forth for minutes before allowing Ken to answer. As Rothko pontificates on art and bosses Ken around, the arc of the play becomes predictable to anyone familiar with theatre and with bio-plays in particular. However, John Logan's Red (directed by Michael Grandage) is more about art, language, and ideas than plot, and in those arenas it fascinates and provokes. Both performers are top notch, and Christopher Oram's scenery brilliantly explicates and supports Rothko's art, belief system, and life.