Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art Before Rothko

By Neena Arndt, Associate Dramaturg

Creation never happens in a vacuum—all artists are influenced by both their life experiences and their artistic predecessors and peers. Mark Rothko, an Abstract Expressionist painter and the central character in Red, maintained acute awareness of those who had wielded paintbrushes in generations past, and often pondered how history would remember him. In Red, playwright John Logan explores Rothko’s view of his forebears and his difficulty in passing the brush to younger artists. In order to understand the play, it’s helpful to have a sense of the artistic innovation that took place a generation before Rothko and his peers took the art world by storm. You could read an art history textbook, or you could read up on two of the early twentieth century’s most intrepid artists in limerick form:

There once was an artist from Spain
Who, in painting, used only one plane—
Female forms from all angles,
Flat, sharp-edged, and tangled—
And the century was off with a bang.
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, Pablo Picasso

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Rehearsal with Red

We’re a couple of weeks into rehearsals for Red, and the buzz around the building is that the canvases have come out and the Rothkoing is in full swing. We snagged a few photos of the actors at work; take a look for a sneak peek into the process.

Edward Gero as Mark Rothko (photo by Liz Lauren).

Patrick Andrews as Ken (photo by Liz Lauren).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It Begins

Rehearsals for Red started on Tuesday, officially marking the beginning of our 2011/2012 season. On Monday, the two actors in Red accompanied our graphic design team to a photo shoot, where the cast struck poses among red strobe lights for the Red show poster. The final image is not quite finished yet, but a mock-up of the design by our creative director, Kelly Rickert, is at left.

Meanwhile our Mark Rothko, actor Edward Gero, has updated his Red blog, this time with a video of a private visit to the Rothko Room at the Phillips Collection, plus excerpts of letters between the museum’s founder, Duncan Phillips, and Rothko himself. Edward just keeps uncovering fascinating stuff about the artist at the heart of this play; check back regularly for more updates on his journey through the rehearsal process.

Tickets to Red are on sale now; visit our website or call 312.443.3800 for more information.

Friday, August 12, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye

By Teresa Rende, Education and Community Engagement Associate

The Goodman’s General Theatre Studies (GTS) program is a lot like Christmas, your birthday, or any other much anticipated annual celebration—it comes but once a year. As the second to last week of June approaches I get nervous and excited; before I can blink the Goodman lobby is filled with 80 Chicago-area teenagers, bustling with energy, ideas and opinions. The moment I do blink, it is already the first week of August and they are gone. The hallways seem quiet, almost eerily so. I peek into the Healy Rehearsal room only to find the student-written autobiographies off the walls, the cubbies empty of iPods and backpacks, and the garbage cans distinctly lacking the teen treats I have been accustomed to seeing over six weeks. How did it all pass so quickly?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Researching Rothko

Red is coming soon. September 17. Be there. The Tony Award-winning play chronicles two years in the life of abstract expressionist Mark Rothko, and though the original London-based production took the West End and Broadway by storm, this production will be the play's first American production—an American director and American cast telling this American story.

There are a thousand things we could say about the play's central character, Mark Rothko, and over the next few months we’ll be saying a lot of them—around town at various events (more on that to come), on our website, in OnStage, and on this very blog. So where do we begin? With actor Edward Gero (below), who will be playing the role of the legendary artist in our production of Red.