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Arts | Culture

In the wings: ‘Red’ delves into complex hues of Rothko’s art and life

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Luke Monday (left) and Robert May in Oceanside Theatre Co.'s “Red.”
(Ken Jacques)

In 1958, the fiercely iconoclastic artist Mark Rothko accepted a commission to paint several murals for a posh new restaurant in New York City.

Rothko was more than a little conflicted about the assignment and its commercial and class implications — he famously said he hoped the murals would make diners lose their appetites.

“Red,” John Logan’s Tony Award-winning 2009 play, explores that episode, as well as the fraught relationship between Rothko and a (fictionalized) assistant named Ken.

Logan’s work — named for the color that dominates many of the artist’s canvases — received its area premiere at San Diego Rep in 2014.

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Now Oceanside Theatre Co. puts up the provocative piece, and it should be in good hands: The director is Kevin Hafso-Koppman, an accomplished San Diego actor and alumnus of the esteemed Old Globe/University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.

He directs Robert May as Rothko and Luke Monday as Ken in the show, which begins performances tomorrow.

‘Red’

When: Opens Friday. 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Through May 20.

Where: Oceanside Theatre Co. at the Brooks Theatre, 217 N. Coast Hwy., Oceanside.

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Tickets: $15-$29.

Phone: (760) 433-8900

Online: oceansidetheatre.org

jim.hebert@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @jimhebert

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