"Red" is a Tony Award winning play written by John Logan the screenwriter for "Hugo" and "Sweeney Todd." It is supposed to be "an electrifying drama that spans the spectrum of human emotion, centering around the life of abstract expressionist Mark Rothko." Rothko was a Russian-American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter". Jeff Ferree told me about the production and he let me know which day that the completed set would be getting a spattering of paint. Set designer is Bob Phillips was there dressed in an old Hawaiian shirt. He supervised as Robbin Watts, the head scenic arts and scenic apprentice is Ashley Gilbert flung paint all over the walls and stage. Everyone padded around the stage in their socks. He couldn't resist flinging paint himself. "It's cathartic." he said.
The first three rows in the theater were covered with drop cloths and I sat in an aisle seat just behind the "spatter zone." I started the sketch by catching Ashley as she spattered the walls from high up on the ladder. This seems to be a recurring theme for me, sketching creative women on ladders. Everyone's shoes were gathered up and placed at the back stage door. All three artists started spattering the floor, trying to avoid painting themselves into a corner. Spattering is a fast paced dance with wide sweeping strokes of the arms and constant pivoting. This was a delicate dance that was well worth the price of admission.
Red is running now through April 22 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Get your tickets now!