Alfred Molina in the Donmar Warehouse production of the Tony Award-winning Best Play “Red” by John Logan, playing at the Mark Taper Forum August 1 through September 9, 2012. Credit: Photo by Johan Persson/ArenaPAL
This Sunday, the Mark Taper forum opens its new show ‘Red,’ starring Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko. The play takes place during the 1950s, when Rothko has been commissioned to do a new set of paintings for the Four Seasons restaurant. Molina is joined by his costar Jonathan Groff, who plays the artist’s new assistant. Rothko, self-aware of the rising generation of younger artists and the threat they pose to him, becomes obsessed with his work and flexes his aesthetic muscle in an effort to stave off the day when, as he says in the play, “the black will swallow the red.”
Molina’s first encounter with Rothko was in the 1970s, when he noticed a poster of one his paintings on a girlfriend’s wall. But obviously the actor had to expound upon the idea that Rothko was simply a guy who made big black pieces of art before taking the stage to portray him.
How did Molina prepare for this role? How did it affect his understanding of modern art? What makes Rothko such a particularly compelling artist and personality?
Alfred Molina, actor starring as artist Mark Rothko in “Red” at the Mark Taper Forum; he is also well known for his roles in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Prick Up Your Ears,” “Frida,” “Chocolat,” and “Law and Order” among other film and television credits
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