ARTS & CULTURE
09/26/2011 02:16 am ET | Updated Nov 22, 2011

‘Red’ Uses Stage As Canvas In Painting A Volcanic Mark Rothko

The most astonishing sequence in "Red," John Logan's 2011 Tony Award-winning play about a tumultuous moment in the career of Mark Rothko, the master Abstract Expressionist painter, is entirely wordless. It occurs as Rothko, a great bear of a man in middle age, teams up with his slender, boyish studio assistant to prime one of his enormous canvases.

A scene of immense muscularity and visible sweat, it has these two men rhythmically send great, slashing sweeps of blood-red paint flying. A vivid reminder that "art isn't easy," it is a galvanic moment in a play that is often a torrent of words. And Logan, whose drama receives its Chicago debut this week at the Goodman Theatre -- on the heels of its great success at London's Donmar Warehouse and on Broadway -- knew it had to be there.

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