April 7 2014 12:00 AM

Play about artist Mark Rothko is funny and passionate

RED PHOTO 2
John Vickery (left) and Jason Maddy in "Red."
Daren Scott

Mark Rothko's studio in the Bowery is not a place for the timid. That's what the obliging young Ken (Jason Maddy) promptly finds out when he becomes an assistant (more like a glorified go-fer, at first) to the lauded abstract expressionist painter. Immediately, the bellowing, salvo-firing Rothko (John Vickery) informs Ken that he's not his friend and he's definitely not his teacher. Yet that's what happens during the course of 90-something minutes in San Diego Repertory Theatre's production of John Logan's Red, directed by Michael Arabian. But before it's over-and it ends all too quickly for this is a fascinating character study of a man who was so much more than just his paintings-Rothko has learned a few things about himself from Ken, though he's loathe to admit it. ---

The Rep distinguished itself last year with its one-man tale of another timeless painter, Picasso: A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, starring Herbert Siguenza. But if that story was told with lust for life and whimsy, this one is wrapped in Rothko's ego and bluster-and, we learn, his insecurity. Vickery is positively commanding in the role, so passionate about his darlings as well as his demons that you accept every high-minded, acerbic word as the Gospel According to The Master. Maddy remains in the background as prescribed for the first half of the one-act play, but his courage and his spine build to a crowd-pleasing tell-off moment that just bounces off Rothko like bullets off Superman.

Red is an accelerated education in art-making and art history for those open to it, and for those who aren't, hell, what are you doing at this show anyway?

Red rocks. Don't miss it. It runs through April 22 at the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza, Downtown. sdrep.org

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28