Best Play Miami 2012 - Red, by John Logan
1200 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Carried by Gregg Weiner's forceful performance and Joseph Adler's tight direction, GableStage's Red was a strongly acted and dense portrait of a complex, flawed, and opinionated man. The venerable one-act drama about the brilliant Russian-born American painter Mark Rothko (played by Weiner) hurled symbolism, existentialism, and Friedrich Nietzsche all up in the audience's face like an abstract expressionist dousing a canvas with paint. At its core, the play is a series of snapshots of the artist's mind through visceral moments where he admonishes his young assistant Ken (played by Ryan Didato) while also feigning indifference and bitching about everything that's wrong with world culture. Weiner's blistering performance revealed the artist as a complicated, narcissistic soul who was deeply influenced by Nietzscheism and who viewed himself as a fading giant in a postmodern world. Adler's masterful direction made an otherwise incomprehensible genius accessible and human. Held together by an absorbing classical soundtrack, set designer Lyle Baskin's stripped-down lighting, and the two actors who delivered playwright John Logan's heavily intellectualized prose with adept skill, Red was everything a profound and engaging drama should be.