The fabled color-field painter Mark Rothko left a troubled yet brilliant legacy behind after committing suicide in 1970, something that's brought into hyperreal focus in the Tony Award-winning drama Red, which is, in a way, an act of abstract expressionism played out on stage, as Rothko and his assistant talk and argue and stretch and paint a canvas while the work unfolds. The Curious Theatre Company, in an oblique homage to Denver's burgeoning art scene, is presenting the regional premiere of John Logan's play, now that Broadway has let go of it, in its own unique staging. Though the heart of the work is intact, says director Christy Montour-Larson, their version not only boasts the intimacy of the small theater, but also -- as directed in the script -- Curious's own set.
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"We have an obligation to honor the playwright, but we can still put our own Curious spin on it," Montour-Larson says. "In Logan's description of the set, he went into great detail about Rothko's studio as it appeared in 1958, but at the end, he says, 'Or it could be abstract.'" And that's just one way Curious gets to have fun. The cast, led by Larry Hecht as Rothko (a role Montour-Larson calls "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an actor"), will also create an actual painting during every one of the thirty performances, and it's even possible they'll eventually hit the auction block.
Red's regular run opens tonight at 8 p.m. at Curious, 1080 Acoma Street, and continues Thursdays through Sundays through June 16; for tickets, ranging from $18 to $42, go to www.curioustheatre.org or call 303-623-0524.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: May 3. Continues through June 16, 2012