Carried by Gregg Weiner's grounded yet forceful performance, Red is a semibiographical drama based on the life of Mark Rothko, the Russian-born American painter whose expressionist works rival those of Jackson Pollock on the abstract-genius scale. At its core, the play is a series of snapshots of the artist's mind — visceral moments during which he both admonishes his young assistant Ken while feigning indifference and bitches about everything that's wrong with world culture. "I'm here to make you think," the fickle artist cries out to Ken while the two spar over the meaning of texture in one of his paintings, "not paint pretty pictures!" Indeed, Rothko constantly wrestles with the value and objectivity of truth. Held together by an absorbing classical soundtrack, set designer Lyle Baskin's stripped-down lighting, and the talent of the two actors who adeptly deliver playwright John Logan's intellectually rich prose, Red is solidly directed by the always-awesome Joseph Adler.
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