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A Night at the Besties Oct 23, 2014 Celebrate CityBeat's "Best of San Diego" issue with live music from Little Hurricane and Steph Johnson, performances from the Fern Street Circus, an art exhibit from the Dream Machine Arts Collective, a mobile video arcade by Coin Op North Park and more. 59 other events on Thursday, October 23
 
Fall Arts
Epic San Diego Museum of Art exhibition promises a textbook lesson in the evolution of modern works
Editorial
Kevin Faulconer’s likely to tack left on sustainability
Film
Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith novel tops our coverage of movies screening around town
News
With few specifics on who they were looking for, officers held the wrong man at gunpoint
Theater
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical leads our rundown of local plays

 

 
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Monday, Apr 07, 2014 - Canvassed | Art & culture

Seeing 'Red' at San Diego Rep

Play about artist Mark Rothko is funny and passionate

By David Coddon
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

 
 
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