Red, the play
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"There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend... One day the black will swallow the red." The other night I went to see a performance at Berkeley Rep , a wonderful theater company in town. We have season tickets, and I never remember to look up what we will be seeing before we go every month or so. It's always a lovely surprise. So imagine how utterly thrilled I was to sit down to a set of someone's painting studio, complete with paint-splattered sink, ratty brushes, stretched canvases, and enormous paintings of Rothko look-alikes. Given that this play was about Mark Rothko, it made perfect sense. My advice? Run, don't walk, to see Red, the play, if it comes to your town. Anyone with an obsession for color will absolutely go nuts for this play. 90 glorious minutes of un-interrupted color orgy. Well, and intense personal relationships... I will leave you with a few snippets to whet your appetite (dialogue between Rothko's studio assistant Ken and Rothko) KEN: I just think ... It’s kind of sentimental to equate black with death. That seems an antiquated notion. Sort of romantic. ROTHKO: Romantic? KEN: I mean ... not honest. ROTHKO: Really? KEN: In reality we both know black’s a tool, just like ochre or magenta. It has no affect. Seeing it as malevolent is a weird sort of chromatic anthropomorphizing. ROTHKO: And red! And red! And red! – I don’t even know what that means! What does “red” mean to me? You mean scarlet? You mean crimson? You mean plum-mulberry- magenta-burgundy-salmon-carmine-carnelian-coral? Anything but “red!” What is “RED?!” All images © Berkeley Repertory Theatre. All rights reserved.