Peg and I love theatre. There is nothing like live actors performing just yards away from your seat in a darkened theatre. COVID-19 has killed the theatre scene or at least seriously maimed it. Theatres from Puget Sound to New York City and beyond are still licking their wounds, but should start to recovery soon. It will take some time. What got us through the live theatre drought was Broadway HD, like Prime and Netflix, a pay service delivering entertainment. I can’t tell you how many times we watched “She Loves Me,” “Kinky Boots,” “Daddy Long Legs,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” as well as “The King and I,” and “The Portuguese Kid.” They were all fantastic . . . but . . . they weren’t performing . . . and reaching out to the audience just for us.
We just saw a recorded production of “Red,” which was recorded in a small venue. I can just imagine, and Peg and I have wonderful imaginations, what it would have felt like live.
“Alfred Molina reprises his acclaimed performance as American painter Mark Rothko in John Logan’s Tony-winning 2010 play, Red. Under the watchful gaze of his young assistant, Rothko takes on his greatest challenge yet: to create a definitive series of paintings for the Four Seasons restaurant. Molina is joined by Alfred Enoch (the Harry Potter series) as Rothko’s assistant Ken.” – video.broadwayhd.com/movies/red
Although “Red” was recorded for Broadway HD, we actually saw it via “Great Performances” on streaming PBS.
“Mark Rothko, born Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz, was an American abstract painter of Latvian Jewish descent. He is best known for his color field paintings that depicted irregular and painterly rectangular regions of color, which he produced from 1949 to 1970.” – Wikipedia
Rothko was born in 1903 and died in 1970. He emigrated to Portland, Oregon and later moved to New York City. He’s known mostly for his rectangular regions of color and specifically the color red. Rothko loved mythological themes, surrealism, and tragedy. He actually reminds me of a local artist, my friend Doctor Johnny Wow, who also doesn’t believe in painting “pretty pictures” either.
What is art? (short clip from “Red”)
I love this scene of Mark and Ken painting the background for one of a series of paintings for The Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building.
In the film, Rothko talked about art and various painters, it was like getting a quick review on famous artists of the fifties and sixties. But it was more than just a review. His words had weight and meaning as well as pain, joy, and belief in something more, a tangible yearning for existence, substance, something possibly unobtainable.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.