Directed by: Martha HenryA Segal Centre Production
By John Logan
Featuring Randy Hughson & Jesse Aaron Dwyre
Take a look at the photo gallery in the multimedia player.
"Must see Red" – Pat Donnelly, The Gazette
"Thumbs up" – Richard Burnett, CJAD 800AM
"Gripping Theatre" – James Gartler, The Suburban
"Impeccable" – Jessica Wei, The Charlebois Post
SYNOPSISDelve into the heart of creation with this six-time Tony Award-winning drama about two years in the life of New York abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko. It’s 1958 and Rothko has been commissioned to paint four murals for an upscale New York City restaurant. In the company of his young assistant Ken, Rothko agonizes over whether this project is an affront to his artistic integrity. Red is a captivating look inside the creative process and the ever-evolving role of art in society.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Curious about the play? Watch the Behind-the-Scenes video!
PRAISE FOR RED“...John logan’s engrossing, often enthralling new play about art, an artist and the act of creation”” – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
"Smart, exciting and scintillating" – The New Yorker
"A stunning new play" – The Chicago Tribune
EXHIBITION: RED ON THE WALLSAn exhibition of abstraction today Credit: Magdalena Olszanowski, Standing with Art Giants 2009, digital print, 30"x22,5" November 22nd to December 21st, 2012 in the Segal ArtLounge - FREE ENTRANCE! Studio Beluga and the Segal Centre for performing Arts invite you to experience the legacy of les Automatistes and the Abstract Expressionists, interpreted by the artists of today. See how contemporary artists from diverse backgrounds respond to the question, what does abstraction mean to you?
Author JOHN LOGAN
John Logan received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Drama League awards for his play RED. This play premiered at The Donmar Warehouse in London and at the Golden Theatre on Broadway. He is the author of more than a dozen other plays including Never the Sinner and Hauptmann. His adaptation of Ibsen’s The Master Builder premiered on the West End in 2003. As a screenwriter, Logan had three movies released in 2011: Hugo, Coriolanus and Rango. Previous film work includes Sweeney Todd (Golden Globe award); The Aviator (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and WGA nominations); Gladiator (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and WGA nominations); The Last Samurai; Any Given Sunday, and RKO 281 (WGA award, Emmy nomination).
Director MARTHA HENRY
Martha Henry was last seen at the Segal Centre under the direction of Diana Leblanc in the 2007 production of Rose, the one-woman play about the Holocaust survivor sitting Shiva. Ms. Henry is the Director of the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre at the Stratford Festival, where she has directed and performed since 1962. This past summer she returned to the Shaw Festival (where she previously directed The Royal Family and Autumn Garden) to direct Moya O’Connell and Jim Mezon in Hedda Gabler. Her roles at Stratford have included Mary Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Cordelia and Goneril in King Lear, Titania and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ranyevskya in The Cherry Orchard, Volumnia in Coriolanus and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. She will return to Stratford in 2013 to direct Measure for Measure at the Tom Patterson Theatre and will appear in Taking Shakespeare, a new play by John Murrell. Ms. Henry is the recipient of 3 Gemini Awards, 5 Genie Awards, a Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award, seven honourary doctorates, the Order of Ontario and is a Companion of the Order of Canada. She is honoured to return to Montreal (where she is a graduate of the National Theatre School) to direct RED.
Rothko RANDY HUGHSON
Randy last appeared at the Segal Centre in Buried Child. He has worked at theatres across Canada and some of his favorite roles include John Proctor in The Crucible (Vancouver Playhouse), Cassius in Julius Caesar (Citadel Theatre, Edmonton), Pat Garret in Billy the Kid (Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary), Danny in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Persephone, Saskatoon), Faust in Faust (Tarragon Theatre, Toronto), Ben in Of the Fields Lately (Canadian Stage, Toronto), Alan in The Crackwalker (Tarragon / Festival des Ameriques, Montreal), and Yves in Being at Home with Claude (National Arts Centre, Ottawa). He has toured across Canada six times in shows such as High Life, The Chet Baker Story, Earshot, Romeo and Juliet and Half Life. He has extensive film, television and radio credits, and has received numerous awards for acting including two Toronto Dora Awards, a Vancouver Jesse Award, and Edmonton Sterling award, and a Calgary Betty Mitchell Award as well as a Genie award for television. He is a member of the Stratford Festival Acting Company and will be returning for the 2013 season under new artistic director, Antoni Cimolino.
Ken JESSE AARON DWYRE
At the Stratford Festival Jesse played Fedotik in Three Sisters, Edgeworth in Bartholomew Fair, Longaville in Love’s Labours Lost and appeared in Romeo & Juliet and Caesar & Cleopatra. Other roles include: Harry Becker in Counsellor–at-Law (Theatre Calgary), Trofimov in The Cherry Orchard (Guild Festival), Shade in Silverwing (Manitoba Theatre for Young People), Henry in Get Away (Alberta Theatre Projects), Lysander in Midsummer Night’s Dream (Driftwood Theatre) Sherman in Blacks Don’t Bowl (Black Theatre Workshop) and Romeo in Romeo & Juliet (Rideau Theatre). Jesse recently won a Dora Award for ‘Best Production’ of The Ugly One (Theatre Smash) and was nominated 'Best Supporting Actor' by the Betty Awards for his work in Of the Fields, Lately (Theatre Calgary). He also won ‘Best Actor’ at the SummerWorks Festival for his portrayal of the Devil in Eurydice. Film credits include: Adam Levy in Adam’s Wall, Fenton in Imitation, and Golan in The Cats. He has played in principle spots for NBC, CTV, YTV, and BRAVO. As a filmmaker Jesse adapted and starred in Silas & the Tomb, and the recently completed short Lakehouse (BRAVO). Jesse is a graduate of The Canadian Film Centre Conservatory, The Birmingham Conservatory, and The National Theatre School of Canada.
Set & Costume Design EO SHARP
Eo Sharp is a Montreal-based designer who has designed sets and costumes for theatres across the country. Last season at the Segal Centre, she designed set and costumes for Same Time, Next Year and Elizabeth Rex (Tableau d’Hôte Theatre). Other designs at the Segal include sets and costumes for Buried Child (2009) and A Doll’s House (2006). Recent productions in Montreal include Champs de Mars (Imago Theatre) and A Comedy of Errors (Centaur Theatre/NAC). This past year EO was awarded the Capital Critics award for the design of Saint Carmen of the Main, a co-production between The National Arts Centre and Canadian Stage.
Lighting by ROBERT THOMSON
Robert Thomson is widely recognized as one of Canada's most prolific and versatile lighting designers for theatre, opera and dance. His previous designs for the Segal Theatre include La Sagouine, Buried Child and Inherit the Wind. Over twelve consecutive seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, his 28 productions include collaborations with Jonathan Miller, Jennifer Tarver, Peter Hinton, Christopher Newton, Des McAnuff and Antoni Cimolino. He served as Resident Lighting Designer for 12 seasons at The National Ballet of Canada, designing over 25 productions, and through 24 seasons at the Shaw Festival (ten as Head of Lighting Design) he is credited on more than 55 productions. He has worked with a diverse range of Canadian companies, including the: National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage, Citadel Theatre, MTC, Pleiades Theatre, and Centaur Theatre. Internationally, his designs have been featured at: Lincoln Center Theater, Metropolitan Opera, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, American Ballet Theatre and Stuttgart Ballet. Mr. Thomson’s award-winning design for Robert Lepage's Bluebeard's Castle/Erwartung has been seen across Canada and around the world. Other opera credits include: COC, Seattle Opera, Geneva Opera, l’Opéra de Montréal and Pacific Opera Victoria. His acclaimed designs have garnered a Sterling Award, four Dora Mavor Moore Awards and was recently presented the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre for 2012.
Assistant Lighting Design RAHA JAVENFAR
Raha Javanfar has designed lighting and projections for theatre, dance, art installation, and opera. She has toured extensively across Canada, as well as abroad to Mexico, Malaysia, China, Australia, and New Zealand. Her most recent design credits are projection design for Opera Atelier's Der Freischutz and lighting design for Miss Caledonia for Tarragon Theatre. Other past design projects include lighting and projection design for How to Succeed: A Musical Tribute to Des McAnuff (Ryerson Theatre School), Forces of Nature and House of Dreams (Tafelmusik), lighting design for Hercules (Tafelmusik/Opera Atelier), Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci (Opera Hamilton), as well as credits for other notable companies such as Ballet Jorgen Canada, Ballet Creole, Nuit Blanche, Royal Conservatory of Music, Festival Players of Prince Edward County, and Queen of Puddings. She was recently selected as one of two protégés for the 2012 Siminovitch Prize.
Sound Composition KEITH THOMAS
As well as writing music for TV and film, Keith has composed for 17 seasons at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and for over a dozen productions at The Guthrie in Minneapolis. Previously at the Segal, he has had the pleasure of working on Same Time Next Year. Tryst, Rose and Harvey. Locally, Keith has composed and performed the music for Joe Louis: An American Romance and Father Land (Infinitheatre), and for Anna in the Tropics and Tiger’s Heart (Centaur Theatre). Keith is delighted to be back at the Segal Centre and working with such a talented team!
Head Scenic Artist JEREMY GORDANEER
Based in Montreal, Jeremy was raised in British Columbia where he studied art and theatre at the University of Victoria. He has been scenic painting on and off for the last 18 years. He also builds props and designs for theatre and dance. Jeremy divides his time between theatre and his own art practice, which includes oil painting, drawing and sculpture.
Head Scenic Artist NADIA LOMBARDO
Nadia Lombardo has worked for seventeen years as a Scenic Artist at theatres across Canada, including the Stratford Festival, Neptune Theatre, Centaur Theatre and the National Arts Centre. She has also worked in film, murals and her own projects, and is currently completing a degree in Studio Arts at Concordia. This is her fourth season at the Segal Centre as co-head Scenic artist with Jeremy Gordaneer.
Stage Manager LAUREN SNELL
Lauren is delighted to be returning to the Segal Centre, after stage managing Rose in 2005. She has stage managed at many theatres across the country, from Vancouver to Halifax, including nine seasons at the Stratford Festival. Some of her favourite productions include the world première of Elizabeth Rex, Antony and Cleopatra , Richard II, Richard III (all at Stratford and all directed by Martha Henry), Homechild at CanStage (where she had the pleasure of working with both Martha Henry and Randy Hughson), King Lear and The Crucible (Manitoba Theatre Centre), The Cherry Orchard, Good Mother, and Journey’s End (Stratford), The Taming of the Shrew (Neptune Theatre, Halifax), Snakes and Ladders (directed by Micheline Chevrier, Montreal) and The Outdoor Donnellys (Blyth Festival). Lauren was a Production Stage Manager at the Stratford Festival for three seasons, and the Director of Production at the Grand Theatre (London) for four years when Martha Henry led the company as Artistic Director.
Apprentice Stage Manager MÉLANIE ERMEL
Mélanie began her artistic career as a dancer. Following training in technical theatre, she then went on to apprentice stage manage at the Segal Centre on Lies My Father Told Me and with the International Yiddish Festival’s production of The Megillah of Itzik Manger. Since then, she has worked at the Segal Centre on several productions including Equus, Vigil (in co-production with Théâtre du Rideau Vert) and Theodore Bikel’s Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears in the summer of 2012. Other credits include Geordie Productions’ Pinocchio at the Centaur Theatre and, most recently, Where the Blood Mixes (Teesri Duniya Theatre). Mélanie also works as a stage technician and a dance teacher.
Born Marcus Rotkovitch in the town of Dvinsk, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire, Mark Rothko immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of ten, settling in Portland, Oregon. A gifted student, Rothko attended Yale University on scholarship from 1921-23, but disillusioned by the social milieu and financial hardship, he dropped out and moved to New York to "bum around and starve a bit." A chance invitation from a friend brought him to a drawing class at the Art Students League where he discovered his love of art. He took two classes there but was otherwise self-taught. Rothko painted in a figurative style for nearly twenty years, his portraits and depictions of urban life baring the soul of those living through The Great Depression in New York. The painter Milton Avery offered Rothko both artistic and nutritional nourishment during these lean years.
In the 1930s, Rothko exhibited with The Ten, a close-knit group of nine (!) American painters, which included fellow Avery acolyte, Adolph Gottlieb. Success was moderate at best but the group provided important incubation for the Abstract Expressionist school to come. The war years brought with it an influx of European surrealists, influencing most of the New York painters, among them Rothko, to take on a neo-surrealist style. Rothko experimented with mythic and symbolic painting for five years before moving to pure abstraction in the mid-1940s and ultimately to his signature style of two or three rectangles floating in fields of saturated color in 1949. Beginning in the early 1950s Rothko was heralded, along with Jackson Pollock, Willem deKooning, Franz Kline and others, as the standard bearers of the New American Painting--a truly American art that was not simply a derivative of European styles.
By the late 1950s, Rothko was a celebrated (if not wealthy) artist, winning him three mural commissions that would dominate the latter part of his career. Only in the last of these, The Rothko Chapel in Houston was he able to realize his dream of a truly contemplative environment in which to interact deeply with his artwork. RED presents a fictionalized account of Rothko’s frustrated first attempt to create such a space in New York’s Four Season’s restaurant. Rothko sought to create art that was timeless; paintings that expressed basic human concerns and emotions that remain constant not merely across decades but across generations and epochs. He looked to communicate with his viewer at the most elemental level and through his artwork, have a conversation that was intense, personal and, above all, honest. A viewer’s tears in front of one of his paintings told him he had succeeded. While creating a deeply expressive body of work and garnering critical acclaim, Rothko battled depression and his brilliant career ended in suicide in 1970.
Big questions of art are on exhibit in Red
Explores relationship between abstract expressionist Mark Rothko and his assistant
MONTREAL - Does serious art really matter? Or has it been eclipsed by popular art, which celebrates the moment over all? And do artists have to become demigods of “titanic self-absorption”?
In his Tony Award-winning play Red, which just opened at the Segal Centre, American playwright/screenwriter John Logan writes about the big questions of art in broad, bold, angry brush strokes tempered with deftly applied dabs of cool, dry wit.
Red is a play that, of course, aspires to art itself, exploring an intermittently abusive teacher/mentor relationship between abstract expressionist Mark Rothko and his assistant, an aspiring young artist named Ken. “You’re an employee,” Rothko reminds the young man. “This is about me. Everything here is about me.”
The portrait of the older artist rendered here is not a flattering one.
Ken gets somewhat less respect than the furniture from his boss – until he rises up and fights back, pointing out with all the passionately idealistic cruelty of youth, that Rothko’s day has passed, and cocky Pop Art now rules the gallery roosts.
For the London and New York debuts of Red, it was Alfred Molina who played Rothko. But, significantly, it was Eddie Redmayne in the supporting role of the assistant who won the Tony for his performance. As an acting match, Red offers an excellent opportunity for a younger actor to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with. Logan (whose latest film credit is Skyfall) gradually allows Ken to appropriate his own place within Rothko’s hermetically sealed world.
This is exactly what Jesse Aaron Dwyre does in the Segal Centre production discreetly directed by Martha Henry. While the greater burden of the play undeniably lies on the able shoulders of Randy Hughson, who plays the temperamental Rothko with infuriating arrogance and simmering rage, Dwyre’s reactions speak volumes. Ken’s account of a traumatic scene from his childhood alters the balance. Here it’s Rothko’s turn to react, with reluctant empathy.
Together, Hughson and Dwyre hash out the play’s arguments clearly, engaging us in the dilemma of artists who feel they are bartering their ideals when they accept commissions from big corporations. Rothko struggles with his desire to create a solemn space for art when he has actually accepted big bucks to decorate a posh restaurant in the Seagram building (owned by Montreal’s Bronfman family) in New York. Ken holds up the mirror Rothko seeks to avoid.
Set and costume designer Eo Sharp has created a detailed replica of Rothko’s studio on Bowery St. in New York City, circa 1958. It’s sparely furnished, messy, cluttered with paint cans, and dominated by huge blank canvases and faux Rothko paintings.
Standing studio lamps remind us of Rothko’s obsession with man-made lighting — of which we can see the value through lighting designer Robert Thomson’s inventive effects. Composer Keith Thomas makes us hyper-aware of the role music can play in the life of a visual artist. The scene in which the volume is pumped up on a classical piece while the two men furiously splash paint on a canvas is carried out with performance art bravado.
Anyone who values art (the name-dropping alone, from Matisse and Picasso to Frank Stella and Jasper Johns, is like a course in art history), appreciates thought-provoking theatre, and has at least read Hamlet if not Nietzsche, must see Red.
Red, by John Logan, continues through Dec. 16 at the Segal Centre, 5170 Côte Ste. Catherine Rd. Call 514-739-7944 or visit www.segalcentre.org.
Mark Rothko was an American abstract expressionist painter with a true artist's temperament. When commissioned in 1958 to create a series of paintings for the Seagram building's Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, he found himself unable to enjoy the high-profile gig, instead feeling deeply conflicted over the purpose of his work and the business of art in general.
In Red, the six-time Tony Award-winning play currently running at the Segal Centre, we are invited into his studio and challenged to see colour and creativity through new eyes. For Rothko (Randy Hughson), life boils down to the conflict between red and black. His young assistant Ken (Jesse Aaron Dwyre), however, can't help but feel that's an oversimplification, not that he's in much of a position to question the master. Over the course of their long days together in the studio, he's repeatedly ordered to mix paints, stretch canvases and keep his opinions to himself.
Rothko is a tormented genius able to create paintings that “move through space if you let them,” but lacking in basic interpersonal skills and painfully indifferent towards his protégé. When Ken gets wise and begins asserting himself, it results in a series of explosive debates between sorcerer and apprentice as they struggle to find common ground and complete their task.
It makes for 90 minutes of gripping theatre. Hughson and Dwyre, through the direction of Martha Henry, strike an emotional balance between world-weary arrogance and measured exuberance. Rothko compares revealing his work to the outside world with “sending a blind child into a room full of razor blades.” Ken, meanwhile, patiently waits for an opportunity simply to show him one of his paintings and get some feedback. Only when they join together to passionately attack a canvas with their brushes do their differences fall by the wayside in one of the production's best moments.
Eo Sharp's set design draws you right into their world, with the studio extending well beyond the boundaries of the Segal stage and out into the audience. One rather playful moment even threatens to bring observers a little too close to the creative process, but then, even a show as intense as Red must have its moments of levity. As Rothko describes his experience walking into the ritzy Four Seasons and observing the clientele, you'll be hard-pressed not to agree with his withering assessment. And Dwyre, resembling a young Jeff Hyslop as he jovially bounces around to the sound of a jazz record, is sure to elicit a smile or two.
Most importantly, Red offers up some serious food for thought. Can any artist be satisfied with financial success if it means catering to an audience? Are audiences even still interested in seeing art, and truly allowing it to speak to them?
That much, at least, is entirely up to you.
Red runs until Dec. 16. For more information, visit www.segalcentre.org
L'art a-t-il pour objet de rendre la réalité de la vie et de la nature, ou d'évoquer un niveau supérieur de conscience et de civilisation? La question est grave et elle est gravement posée dans Red, la pièce à deux personnages du dramaturge et scénariste John Logan, présentée au Centre Segal des arts de la scène, jusqu'au 16 décembre.
Pour le peintre Mark Rothko, l'art - le sien en tout cas - était tragédie. Tragédie qu'il étendait, comme le rouge sur ses murales, en couches superposées: tragédie de l'Homme et du Monde, tragédie de l'artiste et de l'individu pris dans la petitesse universelle. Dans la peau du célèbre expressionniste abstrait, Randy Hughson explose ici en mille éclairs et ses foudres, pour retourner à la terre, passent immanquablement par son adjoint Ken: «Je ne suis pas ton rabbin ni ton psy: je suis ton patron!»
Ken - Jesse Aaron Dwyre - aspire à l'Art tandis que l'autre prétend l'incarner, comme, avant lui, les Michel-Ange et Matisse dans la lignée de qui il aime se regarder. «De quel droit peux-tu émettre une opinion sur l'art?», lance l'irascible maître à son préposé aux pinceaux qui tente de mettre en relief certaines tendances émergentes du Zeitgeist, cet esprit du temps où les boîtes de soupe d'Andy Warhol s'accrochent aux côtés des nappes de conscience du grand Rothko.
La pièce de Logan veut que le déséquilibre dramatique d'ouverture se transforme en un échange plus égal, sinon plus serein, entre les Anciens et les Modernes. Avec quelques moments plus légers, on s'en réjouira... Si le spectateur comprend d'emblée l'obligation d'en arriver à un équilibre nouveau, la prestation de Jesse Aaron Dwyre l'empêche d'y croire pleinement. Le jeune comédien possède bien le texte qui lui permettrait de répliquer au «monstre d'égotisme» que représente le personnage de Rothko, mais son expression, du rythme des pas au débit enflammé, reste confinée dans un registre par trop académique. Et malgré l'argumentaire, malgré les preuves du miroir que Ken place devant son interlocuteur, le déséquilibre demeure.
Bien éperonné par la metteure en scène Martha Henry, Randy Hughson livre avec puissance un Rothko haletant et crachant, dont les coups de gueule révèlent toute la fragilité. Et, éventuellement, la sérénité, quand il aura tranché, à son détriment, le lien entre l'art et l'argent. À elle seule, cette scène vaut le déplacement.
Avec le décor, vibrant de simplicité, d'Eo Sharp, qui a reconstitué le studio de la rue Bowery, il faut souligner la qualité des éclairages de Robert Thompson. Ce concepteur de grande renommée devait montrer sous son vrai jour un peintre convaincu du fait que la lumière du jour desservait son art...
Red, de John Logan, pièce en un acte présentée au Centre Segal des arts de la scène jusqu'au 16 décembre. En anglais.