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4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,218 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews

A moving and compelling account of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, Mark Rothko, whose struggle to accept his growing riches and praise became his ultimate undoing.

Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Oberon Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,256)
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Nov 04, 2014 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-amazing-stars
I had the opportunity of witnessing Red as a play acted out, and it was bloody spectacular!!! The acting was perfect and there was nothing I could find wrong about anything!

So I think it's safe to say that Red by John Logan is one of the most fascinating plays I've come across. It doesn't reach up to the standards of Shakespeare; rather the play creates its own standards to be judged with, because it's just that compelling.

A note to other people, this play is actually based on a real person: Mar
A m i r
Nov 06, 2015 A m i r rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
داستان توی کارگاه روتکو اتفاق میفته. با دو شخصیت: روتکوی پنجاه و خرده ای ساله و شاگرد جوانش کن. روتکو باشگاهی رو اجاره کرده که سفارش رستوران چهارفصلِ برج سیگرم رو انجام بده. این سفارش که بزرگترین قراردادیه که تا اون موقع با یه نقاش مدرن داده میشد روتکو رو به چالش میکشونه. روتکو درنهایت کارهارو که تموم میکنه از تحویل دادن پشیمون میشه و کارها رو با شرایط خاصی که قبول کردنش حدود یک دهه طول میکشه به گالری تیت لندن میسپره.

کاش هنوز فرصت بود و میگفتم برین اون تابلوی روتکو رو تویاون گالری موزه ی هنرهای
John Pappas
Aug 28, 2011 John Pappas rated it it was amazing
Logan's play, winner of six Tony awards including Best Play, is no less than a dramatic discourse on the meaning of meaning. Certainly by having one of the characters in this two character play be the Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko, the play is largely about the meaning of art, integrity, commerce and audience and who has the power to determine the meaning or role of each. But it is also about how individuals make meaning in their lives and how individuals and civilizations progress and chan ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Trevor rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Went to see this during the week. Quite a remarkable play. I’ve only ever seen two of Rothko’s paintings, tiny works both and would love to see his master works – the Seagram Murals. This is, in part, a play about those being painted. I knew, or vaguely remembered, Rothko had committed suicide, but could remember nothing of the details of that at all as I was watching the play. What was interesting here was that after the show I looked up Wiki on him and found that his suicide is virtually acted ...more
Timothy McNeil
Feb 13, 2015 Timothy McNeil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays, literature
Perhaps I am being slightly generous with the five star rating (I cannot help but imagine that the play is much better performed than it is written, though it is written quite well). Perhaps not. It is the first thing I have really enjoyed in quite some time.

John Logan's Red succeeds so wildly -- maybe -- because it is a simple commentary that is open to boundless interpretation: Nothing is Ever Good Enough. Framed within the Rabbinical tone (complete with Socratic method), it delivers a much mo
Sep 09, 2014 Joyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, literary, play
I think plays on audio don't generally come across very well. It's one thing if you're following the script and can tell who the characters are (since we lack the physical cues and can sometimes only identify characters by voice) or if you know the play well. Otherwise, you can be lost. Red is the exception. Only two characters--the towering Rothko with an outsized ego and temper and his hesitant new assistant Ken. What a performance from Molina; we don't need to see what's happen, we can imagin ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Paniz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
میگی زندگیتو صرف پیدا کردن "انسان"های واقعی کردی,
کسانی که بتونن با مهربونی به نقاشیهات نگاه کنن.
اما در عمق وجودت تو دیگه به وجود اون ادما باور نداری
ایمانت رو از دست داده ای... پس ناامیدی.... پس سیاه قرمز رو بلعیده
Mar 14, 2013 Johnny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-york, drama, celebrity
Red may on first glance seem like a gimmick of a play in which Logan uses the eccentric Mark Rothko to convey some tired positions on the balance of commerce and art, yet there is far more depth to this play. The conceit is simple enough: Rothko has hired a bright-eyed and idealistic assistant named Ken to help him complete the series of murals he has been commissioned to paint for New York's Four Seasons Restaurant. Over the course of the play, Rothko conveys his many conflicting thoughts on ar ...more
Jun 10, 2012 Sylvia rated it it was amazing
Powerful and touching. There are many lines I liked, but copied here out of context would lose something.... so here are just a few. I recommend reading this play, but better still go see it! And go sit in the Rothko room in the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

"There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend...One day the black will swallow the red."
"... a generation that does not aspire to seriousness, to meaning is unworthy to walk in the shadow of those who have gone before..."
Oct 02, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Red" is, in many ways, a typical high-society play; two characters (Mark Rothko and his assistant) have spirited discussions about art and commerce. It is very short. Anyone familiar with the lifespan and ethos of abstract expressionism will not learn much about the history of the period, but it certainly serves an educational purpose for those who don't. In lieu of character conflict and plot development, the play tends to revolve around long-winded speeches about art. This is a good play and ...more
Dave Logghe
May 08, 2014 Dave Logghe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Red is the story of an artist fighting against himself and against society. Rothko is an artist nearing the end of his generation's relevancy and he is fighting to find a place where he matters again. He creates murals but is obsessed with making sure that they are seen exactly the way he wants them seen. They must be seen in the proper light, the people who want to look at them and discuss them must have read the required texts, and they must see the "tragedy" in them. Rothko has been hired to ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Ellie added it
Shelves: top-25
This play is about the relationship between the artist Mark Rothko and his fictional assistant Ken.

This was another recommendation by one of my closest friends, this time during my junior year. I was talking with him about good plays and he said that hands down this was the best script he'd ever read, so I borrowed his copy and read it. Wow. This play is so beautifully written. One of the best things I remember about it is how perfectly the dialogue flowed between the characters and how I felt a
Mark Valentine
Mar 02, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it it was amazing
My God! Logan's script reveals Rothko to be a passionate, singular, artist intent on his craft, trouble about his fate, searching for reality in the realm of colors, fearful of the blackness of his own dying, intelligent beyond his peers, and troubled, Apollonian, fearful of fading in the public's eye, fearful of selling out in to the lucre of success, and blind to any level of human connection.

This is an intelligent drama with two players akin to Sleuth (Michael Caine & Laurence Olivier) a
Kristīne Līcis
Apr 04, 2016 Kristīne Līcis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Superbly written ping-pong of verbal jousting that go from what is red to what is art, to how Pop Art banished Abstract Expressionism. Without becoming didactic, the play is asking all the right questions about vanity and money v. creative independence and integrity, about the conflict between generations, and about the point where the artist becomes a slave to the art he/she has created.

"Most of painting is thinking. Didn't they teach you that? Ten percent is putting paint onto the canvas. The
Mike Tracy
Nov 17, 2015 Mike Tracy rated it really liked it
I've wanted to see this play since it came out, but never got to it. Now it's headed to South Coast Rep in January so I thought I'd read it before seeing it. The first act is a bit rocky- the nuance and understanding of the artist's reality seems a bit ham-fisted and simplistic. As the play continues, though, we see a complex relationship develop between notions of artistic integrity, the pressures of the market-place and the insecurities surrounding the artist's ambitions for posterity. The wri ...more
Paul Mirek
Dec 07, 2014 Paul Mirek rated it really liked it
Logan's weighty play about Rothko's attempts at cementing his artistic legacy sometimes runs the risk of falling prey to the same pretensions as its subject, but the overall effect is too entertaining to matter. The relationship between Rothko and his initially wide-eyed young assistant Ken is one that at first feels familiar, as does Rothko's unease at the rising zeitgeist of Pop Art. As we learn more of Ken's own dark secrets, though, the question of art's value and of how we form our own aest ...more
Jessica Barkl
Dec 01, 2014 Jessica Barkl rated it really liked it
This was a play that I presented at SUNY Sullivan, as a part of my series (I am currently calling) "Theater Friends of Sullivan County". Anyway, the Liberty Free Theatre performed a staged reading of this play, and it was very well done. This play is great; it is a wonderful analysis of art, what art is, what it isn't, and how to give/take critical feedback/finding one's voice. And, also, may I say, I never thought it possible for those themes to be something that would make for engaging theater ...more
Apr 04, 2014 Krista rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Energetic, contemplative. A wonderful look at art and why artists create, what audiences see...what moves us as people.
Aysan Abbasi
May 17, 2015 Aysan Abbasi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
خوب بود...
لذت بردم..

کاش سیاهی قرمزی رو نبلعه !
Mark Johnson
Jul 05, 2012 Mark Johnson rated it really liked it
In this two character play, John Logan, who wrote the screenplays for 'The Gladiator', 'The Aviator' and last year's 'Hugo', imagines the course of a relationship between abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko, who, at age 56, has attained the pinnacle of fame and success, and a young artist who has agreed to work as Rothko's assistant as he prepares the series of paintings he was commissioned to create for The Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan's Seagram Center. The biographical elements ...more
Nov 12, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it
A two-character play that delves deeply into the creative process, the way we see and understand not just art, but our own lives and natures, and so much more. Based on a true story from late in the career of acclaimed artist Mark Rothko, it provides a fictional assistant to challenge Rothko and learn from him. Both roles are written with complexity and a sense of real intimacy. A terrific read for theatre buffs and art lovers, with something thrown in for students of philosophy as well!
Sep 27, 2012 Martyn rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stunning. I'm amazed at how much John Logan managed to cram into and to suggest in this short play. I was floored by how powerful it was, I now have to see it acted out. Also, I'm incredibly jealous of the lucky few who saw the original London run with Alfred Molina in the Rothko role! Lucky peeps all of 'em.

I love Rothko's work and know a little bit about him and so this was incredibly enjoyable. It was also deeply moving, I would love to know if Ken was a real person or not. I read
Mateen Manek
Sep 02, 2014 Mateen Manek rated it really liked it
This was an incredibly powerful play. Captivating all through out. The dialogue between the two characters was electrifying, and the characters themselves were strong and bold. They stood out as if they were real. A very brilliant, yet simple play. The characters were revealed to you in a very interesting fashion, while using the devices around them. This play is a critique of modern art, and does an amazing job at that. I'd definitely suggest this as a read.
Ben Gierhart
Aug 02, 2013 Ben Gierhart rated it really liked it
Note: 4.5 stars

Wow. I so identify with Ken, one of the two characters in this terrific play, that I wonder if John Logan didn't interview me on my discernment process for art and life. I must have forgotten.

Rothko would detest me saying this, but I found the play to be beautiful. Tragic. Poignant. All those descriptors that really say nothing at all. The language here is beatific, a little stilted perhaps, but that's okay because it's ART.

Red reminds me that we can dress up art and its criticism
Apr 08, 2016 Beata rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
R: You're fired.
K: Why? [...] You owe me an explanation.
R: I don’t owe you anything.
K: […] I want a reason.
R: I told you
K: Why?
R: Because I don’t need an assistant --
K: Bullshit.
R: Because you talk too much --
K: So do you.
R: Because you have lousy taste --
K: Bullshit.
R: Because I’m sick of you --
K: Bullshit --
R: Because your life is out there! Listen, kid, you don’t need to spend any more time with me. You need to find your contemporaries and make your own world, your own life… You need to get o
Oct 14, 2015 Jeff rated it liked it
Like many contemporary plays, this is a little undercooked but, even so, this is a ferocious work full of wonderful moments in which one of the most magisterial of American artists, Mark Rothko, battles time and the forces of consumerist American culture in order to create his masterpiece.
Jul 28, 2015 Giuliana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Art lovers, especially the ones who love Rothko and abstract expressionism
Shelves: favorites, plays, 2015
Really awesome play. I love Rothko and I feel this play made me understand a lot better his work. I want to see a Rothko painting in person (especially Four Darks in Red because I can't help but relating it to this) and this play acted out so much T_T
Chris Bezy
Aug 22, 2014 Chris Bezy rated it it was amazing
The language of this play is quite simply: beautiful. I don't say that often about books, but that is the only way I can think to describe this one. A true joy to read. I have reread it several times, as I find something new each time I go back to it.
Kim Ward
Nov 26, 2014 Kim Ward rated it really liked it
loved this play. What's more classic than a play with 2 guys talking on stage about art and the gripping desire for the world to understand you/yours? The relationship between artist and assistant is strong. The dialogue is great.
Sep 18, 2015 Theresa rated it it was amazing
My favorite play. I work customer service and sometimes get overwhelmed with how much the world sucks. When I start to feel that way, I re read this play and can feel some sense of inclusion. I am so Rothko.
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Logan was a successful playwright in Chicago for many years before turning to screenwriting. His first play, Never the Sinner, tells the story of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case. Subsequent plays include Hauptmann, about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and Riverview, a musical melodrama set at Chicago's famed amusement park.

His play Red, about artist Mark Rothko, was produced by the Donmar Wareh
More about John Logan...

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“ROTHKO: (Explodes) 'Pretty.' 'Beautiful.' 'Nice.' 'Fine.' That's our life now! Everything's 'fine'. We put on the funny nose and glasses and slip on the banana peel and the TV makes everything happy and everyone's laughing all the time, it's all so goddamn funny, it's our constitutional right to be amused all the time, isn't it? We're a smirking nation, living under the tyranny of 'fine.' How are you? Fine.. How was your day? Fine. How are you feeling? Fine. How did you like the painting? Fine. What some dinner? Fine... Well, let me tell you, everything is not fine!!
HOW ARE YOU?!... HOW WAS YOUR DAY?!... HOW ARE YOU FEELING? Conflicted. Nuanced. Troubled. Diseased. Doomed. I am not fine. We are not fine. We are anything but fine.”
“Everything worthwhile ends. We are in the perpetual process now: creation, maturation, cessation.” 9 likes
More quotes…