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

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.

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.


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.

Tickets: $15-$29.

Phone: (760) 433-8900


Twitter: @jimhebert