Monday, August 15, 2011

Theatre: Red

By John Logan
Onward Production
Directed and designed by Lawrie Cullen-Tait
Featuring James Hagan and Will O’Mahony
Subiaco Arts Centre
Until August 27

Biographical theatre needs to be approached with caution. It’s a brave writer who tries to draw drama from a real life, especially a famous one, and a brave actor who attempts to represent that life.
The currency of great theatre is universal human truth, not the facts of an actual life. The more we know about someone, the more difficult it becomes for a writer and actor to convince us that the person on the stage is who he claims to be.
It’s the polar opposite of the willing suspension of disbelief - the necessary engagement of belief - and it’s essential for biographical theatre to succeed.
Which is exactly what Red, John Logan’s terrific exploration of the Latvian-American artist Mark Rothko (1903–1970), does.
Red is a must-see production, and another feather in the cap for the independently funded Onward Production. The play comes to Perth within a couple of years of its London debut and only a year after it dominated the Tony Awards. I hope it attracts an audience large enough to encourage the company to bring more international work of this quality to Perth theatres.

Link here  to the complete review in The West Australian
For a broader look at Rothko, his legacy and the issues raised by the play, link here to William Boyd’s article in The Guardian. 


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