Anyone who has the privilege of seeing a performance of John Logan's extraordinarily powerful and immensely intelligent play RED will want to buy this script version of the play: there is so much information about art, art history, art and the emotional experience of becoming immersed in paintings, learning about the dialogue between the artist and the viewer on every page that it is well to read the play repeatedly and slowly to absorb it all.
John Logan's name may not carry the noise of the paparazzi - yet - but it soon will. Briefly, John David Logan was born in San Diego, CA in 1961, grew up in California and New Jersey and was graduated form Northwestern University in 1982. His plays, informed by the fact that he is openly gay, include `Never the Sinner' (a recreation of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case), `Hauptmann' (about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping), `Riverview' and `Red'. His screenplays include `Any Given Sunday', `RKO 281', `Gladiator', `The Aviator', `Star Trek: Nemesis', `The Time Machine', `The Last Samurai', the `Tim Burton-directed musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street', the film adaptation of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, and film adaptation for `The Invention of Hugo Cabret'. Extensive important credits, but none of his achievements equals the power of `Red".
Something happens in this play: the audience is present in the dark studio of painter Mark Rothko who has just hired an assistant, Ken, to help him complete the commissioned canvases that are to be part of the installation of the Seagram's' Four Seasons Restaurant in New York. The play has only two characters and the power of the play is dependent on conversations about the history of art, the manner in which art is viewed by the public whose most intellectual adjective when asked their opinion is `fine'. It is the gradual building of repartee between Rothko and Ken that explores the mind of the genius Rothko, his place in the world of art, his dealing with his fears about death and the color black, and his dominance over Ken. As the play progresses Ken gradually rises in his ability to express himself and between Rothko and Ken we discover the manner in which painting can represent our fears and our idiosyncrasies when we actually become active in the process of experiencing art.
Page after page in this book contain profound thoughts about the creative process. If the play is ever in the vicinity of the reader, attendance is a must. The play is currently in performance in Los Angeles with Alfred Molina and Jonathan Groff: it is a breathtaking experience. Grady Harp, August 12