We were lucky enough today to look around the set of RED and talk to the cast of the play.
Michael Grandage directs this first ever UK revival since directing the world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse in 2009. The production went on to win six Tony Awards, including Best Play.
Award-winning stage and screen actor Alfred Molina reprises his critically acclaimed performance as the American abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. He is joined by the star Alfred Enoch of US television drama series How to Get Away With Murder as his assistant Ken.
What can you tell us about the characters of the play?
A.M.(Alfred Molina) I play Rothko and Alfred plays the young assistant Ken. It is about their relationship over a period of two years when Rothko was commissioned to paint the murals for the Four Seasons restaurant. It is Rothko’s journey and also the journey between these 2 men who are different in age. There is kind of a relationship with a father-son element, a master-teacher element and is the way that relationship changes though the process of the work.
Do you see any parallel in your character learning as young assistant and young actor?
A.E. (Alfred Enoch) Well, this rehearsals room is a much more welcoming room than Rothko’s room (laughing)
A.M. With all the different manifestations of the cast, we really felt that whoever would play Ken, would be 50% of the cast and deserved 50% of the play. What Alfred gives me, has an effect on what I do and this is so good for me, and I will respond accordingly.
What do you think you brought to the show?
A.E.It is hard for me to evaluate. I have been given a lot of freedom and it is my responsibility to see that.
A.M. Alfred is too modest but I can say he comes with an amazing amount of skills and intelligence and sensitivity and awareness and if I had been as aware and skilled when I was his age, I would have been very very happy. The beauty of this play is that it needs an amount of skill and dexterity that Alfred has in abundance.
Is your approach different if you play someone who existed rather than a fiction character?
A.M.: I think when you play someone who existed you create what is in the script but there is the responsibility not to misrepresent the person, especially if there is documented material on that person , like in Rothko.
How much Rothko the person is in the play and how much Rothko the artist?
A.M. I think it is 50-50. What made him the artist he was is so tied up to what he was as human being: strict, unforgiving for other people failings, intellectually rigorous, demanding, unpredictable, prone to drink, snob artistically. He could not do small talks. You know there are 3 levels of conversations: talking about events, about people and about ideas. He was not interested on small talks, just talking about ideas. And all those things are reflected in his work.
The play RED will be at Wyndham's Theatre 4th May 2018 - 28th July 2018 and we just can't wait!