What Is the Story of Red?
It is the late 1950s and Mark Rothko, the famous Abstract Expressionist painter, is at a crossroads in his career. Intellectual, controlling and often bombastic, Rothko is at work on a surprising (and very well-paid) commission: a series of murals to hang at the Four Seasons restaurant in Midtown Manhattan’s Seagram’s Building. The play takes place in Rothko’s studio, where he works with the help of a smart, young assistant. The action follows the artist’s struggle for integrity and understanding in the face of fame, self-questioning and impending irrelevance. Will his paintings survive in a place that represents everything—greed, commercialism, bourgeois comfort—he detests?