Highly Recommended ***** Over the years, some of the small “Store-Front” theaters have developed what appears to be personalities of their own. While I know it is due to the staff of these theaters, I often look at each of the smaller, intimate spaces as something special. One of my favorites is redtwist theatre , that very small space on Bryn Mawr where Michael Colucci and Jan Ellen Graves have truly fashioned a theaterof which they can be proud. Over the 11 years of bringing quality theater to the Edgewater neighborhood, we have watched them grow and it looks as if they are not resting on their laurels as they continue to do their thing.
Tony Award winner, “RED” under the skillful direction of Steve Scott is now being staged in this very intimate space. A space that asks the audience members in specific seats to don plastic gear as these are what are termed “splatter seats”. To explain this, you must know that “Red” is in fact an explosive story about an artist, master expressionist Mark Rothko (an amazing performance by Brian Parry, who always brings 100% PLUS to every role he plays) as he takes on a young apprentice, Ken (deftly handled by Aaron Kirby), who as it turns out questions the importance of his mentor/employer. As an artist, he will pain. Yes, right on the intimate stage of redtwist.
Yes, you see,Rothko has landed a huge commission. He has been asked to do a series of murals in the world-famous Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan. What follows in the 100 minutes (no intermission) of sheer artistry is watching these two men, night and day discuss art and artists, the challenges of the artistic process, the ego of the non-teacher who becomes a teacher, the worthiness of the artists and the person who hires them and the fact that there is tragedy in every stroke of the paint brush.
The two actors play off each other in a very realistic manner, each feeding his own ego (or that of the character they are playing) and at one point they do paint a canvass, scene three, to be exact, where the “splatter seats” come into play. “Red” is , of course, the color that most of Rothko’s work embraces, but there are many types and shades of red. Our young apprentice questions why black is not used and Rothko explains that “Black is the color that is ready to swallow red”. John Logan, in this tense and taut script takes us on an exploration. To discover an answer to this question- “What is art…and how is it created?” And he does so with style and grace.
The actors in this particular play are as I said earlier, about as realistic as they can be. There were times that I felt the creative juices flowing in each one. When Ken stretches the canvass, when they mix colors and the striking realism when they paint the canvass in the third scene. This is a special production and one that will have you leaving the theater knowing that you have just seen a first class production of a first class play in a tiny Black Box with a little Red Twist ( their slogan)!
The set (Eric Luchen) will have you feeling that you are in an artists loft somewhere in the Lower East Side, and the lighting (Zoe Mikel-Stites) is classical with sound (Karli Blalock) and costumes (Allison Smith) along with the fantastic props (Angela M. Campos) that makes this production complete – great job, one and all. I suggest that you put this one on your “Must See” list.
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 3 p.m.
Tickets range from $30-$35 with $5 off for students and seniors and can be purchased by calling 773-728-7529 or online at www.redtwist.org
Valet parking is available at Francesca’s Bryn Mawr, with dining or not and of course there are metered/boxes on Bryn Mawr and around the corners of the nearby streets. There are some limited FREE spaces on the side streets surrounding the theatre.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “RED”