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Does free art go along with the commercial society or monuments? It might be safe to hear Rothko answering Ken about it. In John Logan’s Red play, Mark Rothko, the artist, and Ken, his assistant, are the main characters supposed to paint the big Four Seasons restaurant. For its One Night Only program, the Orange Tea Theatre will make you discover Red and question the consumer society according to the arts. They are partnering with TOON, known for their unique examples of all facets of Amsterdam’s artistic scene.
Ode to the arts
In 2010, John Logan wrote this engaging play directly inspired by reality. Mark Rothko is an abstract expressionist artist in New York, who has been commissioned to paint a group of murals for the expensive Four Seasons restaurant in 1958. Ken, his assistant, questions Rothko’s theories of art and his acceding to work on such a commercial project. Rothko dislikes the rise of pop art, and finally explains that the restaurant’s dining atmosphere is pretentious and inappropriate for the display of his works.
Indeed, to provide paintings for the new luxury restaurant Four Seasons was, as art historian Simon Schama put it, “bringing his monumental dramas right into the belly of the beast”. It presented a new challenge since it was the first time he was required to not only design a coordinated series of paintings, but to produce an artwork space concept for a large, specific interior. Ken didn’t really exist but is the character that brings Rothko’s thoughts out. He really hoped that his paintings would disgust every person who would come to eat there.
The play was nominated for a total of seven Tony Awards, winning six, including Best Play! For its One Night Only monthly series program, the English company Orange Tea Theatre make a staged reading on Thursday.
Red by John Logan
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