Editor's note: James M. Kadra provided this review at the request of the South Carolina Repertory Co.
'A painting lives in the eye of the viewer," observes the abstract painter Mark Rothko in the South Carolina Repertory Company's current production of John Logan's "Red."
A play lives in the minds of the audience. Some are quickly forgotten, but a special few remain in memory. Such is the case with this interpretation of a serious, yet humorous, Tony Award-winning script. Logan paints a picture with words that is capable of engaging an audience with its witty, yet serenely emotional look at life, at art, at intelligence, through the medium of color.
Thus the title: "Red."
The growing conflict between the painter (played with startling assurance and gentle insight by David Sitler) and his helper, Ken (the sensitive and captivating Matt Mundy) provides us with an evening of truly unusual emotional fulfillment.
"Red," first brought to SCRC's attention by patrons of the theater, uses a rhythmic flow of the words to establish how colors create magic.
Director Chip Egan surely spent hours reading, thinking and wondering about Rothko's exhortation to "allow the colors their grandeur in silence."
Red: The color of poppies and strawberries and blood; the color of life and death.