Red

Length: 1 hr and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (104 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The artist Mark Rothko has just hired Ken, an aspiring artist, to be his assistant and errand boy. Ken discovers that Rothko's temper can run hot, but as he gets to know his boss better, he finds that Rothko has opened him up to more than just painting.

A 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:<

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  • Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko
  • Jonathan Groff as Ken
    • Directed by Bart DeLorenzo. Recorded by L.A. Theatre Works before a live audience.

    ©2011 John Logan (P)2013 L.A. Theatre Works

    Critic Reviews

    RED John LoganRead by Alfred Molina, Jonathan GroffWhen the first sound effects punctuate the silence, listeners know they have joined a live audience to experience this L.A. Theatre Works staged reading. Ken, a young assistant to Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko, is starting his first day in Rothko's New York studio. Jonathan Groff skillfully projects Ken's hesitancy as he tries to suss out his new job, and his bigger-than-life employer. Alfred Molina, as Rothko, IS bigger than life. He's huge, in voice and temper, and conveys Rothko's immense intellect and artistic vision. Listeners are immediately drawn into the power of this drama, and the script teaches and engages. The sense of being part of the live audience in wait for the next explosion of activity is palpable. A terrific example of the success of listener engagement in recorded plays. R.F.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine [Published: NOVEMBER 2013]
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      4 out of 5 stars
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      3 out of 5 stars

    🎨🤔Not Enough There🎭🎨

    For such a much-lauded play, this is a curiously empty canvas. I almost want to say the Emperor has no clothes. It’s a moderately interesting idea (exploring why Rothko backed out of the Four Seasons/ Seagrams commission), stretched out to fill an almost-full-length play. I offer this proof of its so-so-ness: I LOVE plays; I love listening to these LA TheatreWorks plays in particular; I almost never forget a plot....and yet I can no longer recall exactly how this play ended, despite having listened to it only two days ago. The problem is not this production. It’s not the direction. It’s not the cast; Molina and Groff are both flawless. It’s the script. There’s just not enough THERE there, as Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland. Often, hints are dropped that something is about to happen, but it never does. For example: There’s a tantalizing clue dropped as to the identity of the younger man: His parents were MURDERED when he was a very small child! He saw the bodies! There was so much blood! This is so ridiculously statistically unlikely....perhaps he’s just a figment of Rothko’s imagination! Or his alter ego! Nope. He’s just a statistical outlier for no good reason. Then, later, the younger man is heard on the phone telling someone, presumably a lover, that he’s just about to finally show Rothko his own work. He expresses enormous anxiety about this. The listener is just as anxious as he is, waiting for it to happen. What will Rothko do? Will he become enraged, storm and rant at the younger man’s brazenness? Will he fire him on the spot? Or will he unexpectedly love it? We never find out. If the younger man ever shows Rothko the work in question, we never see or even learn about that confrontation.

    I won’t be recommending this to anyone. But you know what I’m going to listen to again right now? The LA TheatreWorks production of Yasmina Reza’s unforgettable ART. Now THAT is a canvas worth pausing to ponder for awhile!

    2 people found this helpful

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    Brilliant and over too soon

    Anyone who likes art or to think deeper than what they like will love this play. Molina’s dialogue easily slips into monologue, underscored by Groff’s quips and eventual arguments. It’s beautiful, tragic, funny, and Red.

    1 person found this helpful

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    What is RED?

    It’s intense. It’s funny. It’s a gut shot. It’s nuanced. It’s a play so wonderfully crafted you don’t need to know a thing about Rothko the artist to be moved by. It’s brilliantly performed by two extraordinary talented actors. It’s another example of why Logan is maybe the best playwright we have. What is RED? It’s blood on the soul. It’s brilliant.

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    Wonderful performances!!!

    I had never heard about this play before, and now I'm buying the text on Amazon as we speak. The story is awesome, the character of Rothko is very interesting, egocentric, a troubled artist and flawlessly played by Alfred Molina, his voice expresses so much that it grabs you, and you can't stop listening. Jonathan Groff plays his assistant, an aspiring artist who knows how to deal with Rothko's ego, and their conversation goes to dark and amazing places, teaching about art, life and what you hold on to from your past. I truly loved this play and the performances!!! Wouldn't mind hearing it again

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    One of my favourite plays ever

    I love Rothko as much as the performances in this play. Which is to say, a lot.

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    Excellent

    Aftershave listening this play you will have open eyes for colors, and art, and the sacrifices of artists and the genie of Rothko.

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    • Tom Middleditch
    • 07-20-18

    The Perfect Gateway to Theatre

    I have recommended this to every single person who has asked to get into audiobooks, and to all of my theatre peers. Superb wiring, perfectly balanced between Art is the most important thing/Art is pretentious and meaningless, with two spectacular performances by Jonathan Groff and Alfred Molina. This is the cheapest way to get into a theatre, but you can do it anywhere, and not have to worry about doing anything wrong. Visceral, Tense, Humorous, Profound, and deeply deeply human. These are words you wouldn't want to use to describe wine, but for this particular Red, they fit perfectly

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    • Hiro
    • 11-01-17

    Great performance

    It’s interesting to listen to a play performed in front of a live audience.

    I was fortunate to see this play by Melbourne Theatre Company in 2012 at Sumner Theatre.
    Despite its small-scale production, I found it very touching, and very well acted. The story itself was very well-known, and there were many cliches in the dialogue, but, it offered a great theatre experience.