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RED (Oberon Modern Plays) [Paperback]

John Logan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Dec 2009 Oberon Modern Plays
'There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend... One day the black will swallow the red.'
Under the watchful gaze of his young assistant and the threatening presence of a new generation of artists, Mark Rothko takes on his greatest challenge yet: to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.
A moving and compelling account of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century whose struggle to accept his growing riches and praise became his ultimate undoing.
Nominated for 7 Olivier Awards (2009) and winner of 6 Tony Awards (2010) including Best New Play.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Oberon Books Ltd (3 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840029447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840029444
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 17.5 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Smart and scintillating. RED deftly conjures what most plays about artists don't: The exhilaration of the act. --John Lahr, The New Yorker

A fresh, exciting portrait of a brilliant mind. --Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Plays about painters are fraught with difficulty. Either the hero preaches about art without practising it, or the Bohemian lifestyle supersedes the work. But John Logan's play about Mark Rothko overcomes these obstacles with finesse... It's a measure of the play's success that it makes you want to rush out and renew acquaintance with Rothko's work. --Michael Billington, Guardian

About the Author

John Logan is an award-winning American writer. His work for the stage includes Never the Sinner, Hauptmann, a new adaptation of Ibsen's The Master Builder, and Red, the Tony-winning play about painter Mark Rothko. Logan's work as a screenwriter includes Skyfall, Sweeney Todd, The Aviator, Hugo, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Rango, Coriolanus, and Any Given Sunday.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple, yet thrilling story. 7 Oct 2012
By H. Khan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You're very unlikely to be disappointed by this play. It only takes a couple of hours to get through, but it's thrilling from beginning to end. Focusing on Rothko's relationship with his own art and other people, (namely his studio assistant, Ken) it examines the vanity of the artist, the state of painting, art history from an artist's perspective and a fair chunk of philosophy about the arts. Well worth a purchase.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Logan the Great 12 Mar 2013
By C. Grey
Format:Kindle Edition
Two men talking: a Socratic dialogue. But who is learning from whom? John Logan writes a thriller about art, life, learning, living, regretting, running away, self-deception, imagination, restraint, release, the passage of time. It's all there-and it's magnificent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars intention, invention: the creative process 20 May 2010
By Constance Slings-Arrows - Published on
For anyone fortunate enough to have seen the Donmar Warehouse production of RED with Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne it will come as no surprise that John Logan's script yields fresh fruit with each new reading. As literate and passionate exploration of the creative process, the play positively requires--demands--that most important aspect of art--the audience's participation, the audience's thinking. The immediate topical focus of the play, of course, is Mark Rothko, but its ultimate concerns lie far beyond the boundaries of one man's canvas. RED is a masterpiece.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All the quotations. All the questions. 7 July 2010
By John Michael Albert - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a sucker for think-pieces like this. I'm old fashioned enough that I actually want to be challenged by art. "Challenged"? Hell, I believe its essential to anyones proof of existence that they be willing to run directly at an oncoming train for the experience of being completely changed by the impact. And, yes, I'm the one with the father who would stand in the museums in the 1950's and say about abstract expressionism, "My kid coulda done that." Or, about Rothko, "If I painted a wall that unevenly, I'd be fired." Thankfully, I eventually moved to Houston and discovered the Rothko Chapel where I spent many quiet, dimly lit hours alone and in the company of friends with those paintings (thanks to Dominique deMenille). I returned to all of this (from New Hampshire) with the PBS broadcast of Simon Schama's Power of Art. The hour on Rothko's Seagram's Four Seasons mural was the climactic, eight episode in the series. All of the quotations are there. All of the questions are there. And the question of money and art gets a full-body slam. (Rothko famously told Philip Johnson, the architect, 'No one who pays that kind of money for that kind of food is going to see any paintings of mine,' and send the commissioning fee, the equivalent of $2 million, back.) Since I saw the Schama first and have watched it many times, I venture that the play dramatizes the contents of the Schama program (same source? collaboration between the authors? zeitgeist?) introducing the catalyst of an artists' assistant. No matter. If you're attracted to think pieces, especially think pieces devoted to contemporary (for me, anyway) art and contemporary issues in art, both the Schama and the Logan were created for you. Here's a two-engined train you should run at with all your might.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant play 26 May 2010
By chicklit - Published on
I had read the play before seeing Alfred Molina's stunning performance on Broadway and the writing simply sang. Logan has created a true masterpiece with delicious roles for actors. A wonderful play and an engaging read! While Colette Freedman's Sister Cities used to be my favorite play, I believe it has been surpassed by this remarkably crafted aria.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theatrical Brilliance in Book Form: The Script for RED 26 Aug 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What do you SEE?" 7 Jan 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
No one can contend that John Logan isn't one of the most prolific writers of our age - RED, Hugo, Sweeney Todd, RKO 281, Skyfall, The Aviator, Coriolanus, Music From A Locked Room, Hauptmann, Never the Sinner...

Prolific and influential.

With RED he explores the microcosm of one man - Mark Rothko.

The finest production I ever saw of this show was a little show in a cramped but intimate space directed by Wil Oladiran. Like the work of Tracey Letts, Logan makes the set, the props, the lighting, as much a character as the two men on stage. I realized that then.

RED may be one of the finest works of the century, certainly so far.

I think time will prove Rothko right.

And maybe, hopefully, with Logan's help, the black will NOT swallow the red.
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