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Tony Award-winning ‘Red’ comes to Pagosa

By Laura Moore
Special to The PREVIEW

On May 16, Thingamajig Theatre Company concludes its 2013-2014 winter season with the Tony Award-winning play “Red” by John Logan.

Photo courtesy Doug Chapin Craig Dolezel appears as Ken in Thingamajig’s production of ‘Red’ by John Logan, opening May 16 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

Photo courtesy Doug Chapin
Craig Dolezel appears as Ken in Thingamajig’s production of ‘Red’ by John Logan, opening May 16 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

Even if you’re not familiar with Mr. Logan’s early plays, you have likely encountered his work. For more than a decade, he has written screenplays for some of Hollywood’s most successful films, including “Gladiator,” “The Aviator,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and many upcoming films.

Logan’s initial attraction to writing “Red” was to the Seagram murals themselves. Logan was in London filming “Sweeney Todd” and one day he walked into the Tate Modern and went to the room with the Seagram murals.

“They had a very powerful effect on me. I knew very little about Mark Rothko, very little about abstract expressionism, but I found the paintings themselves profoundly moving and very kinetic in a strange way. I went to the wall and read a little description about how he had painted them originally for the Seagram Building and then decided to keep them and give the money back. And I thought, ‘Well, this is an interesting story.’ So I decided that I would read a little more about it, and the more I read the more I thought that it was a play,” remarks Logan.

In “Red,” master American expressionist Mark Rothko has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art — a series of murals for New York’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant. In the two fascinating years that follow, Rothko works feverishly with his young assistant, Ken, in his studio on the Bowery. But when Ken gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing.

Producing artistic director Tim Moore adds,

“I think ‘Red’ is the perfect play for our audience and one that I’ve been waiting to bring to our stage since we opened in 2011. Not only do our patrons appreciate well-written, award-winning plays, but Pagosa Springs is home to so many visual artists. I sincerely hope those artists take an opportunity to attend this play. I think many elements of the play’s content will resonate with them and hopefully stimulate thoughtful conversation about art, our community and the larger scope of art, as well. Plus, we have fantastic actors and a production team any theatre company would be thrilled to produce with.

“Patrons will see the performance space as they’ve never experienced it before. The whole space has been transformed into Rothko’s studio — every inch of it. It’s incredibly stimulating. I’m very excited for patrons to experience one of our most ambitious offerings yet.”

Raw and provocative with groundbreaking performances, “Red” is a searing portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.

Thingamajig Theatre Company presents “Red” by John Logan. Directed by Melissa Firlit. Featuring Dennis Elkins and Craig Dolezel. May 16-June 1, at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. For tickets and more information, visit www.pagosacenter.org or call 731-SHOW (7469).

This story was posted on May 8, 2014.