Posted at 4:15 p.m., Sept. 8, 2014

Two-actor play sees RED

Walking around the campus at Laramie County Community College, one might find a curious set of posters with a man’s hand gripping a dripping crimson paintbrush with the title “Red” in capital letters. The posters are just the first thing people see about this play: A whole other world is connected to this first LCCC fall production in mid-September.

The play, written by John Logan in 2009, centers on the story of Mark Rothko, an American abstract impressionist living in New York City in 1958. During this time, Rothko was commissioned to paint several murals for the Seagram Building. However, Rothko declined the project, and this play is a small snapshot into his life during that time.

The production opens on Rothko receiving a new assistant, Ken, who aids in constructing these murals for the Five Seasons’ restaurant. During the course of the five scenes, Rothko and Ken develop a mentor-student and a father-son relationship.

The biggest catch to this play? The cast. The only characters the audience sees the entire time are Mark Rothko and Ken. But, don't think for a second that because of the short number of characters that this production was an easy feat.

Jason Pasqua, LCCC theatre instructor, director and lead actor in the role of Mark Rothko, admitted: “We had to address that [using Rothko’s work] came with a lot of legal responsibility. The way it works is if we try to reproduce any of the murals, we would have to take a photo of it and send it to Chris Rothko, Mark's son, for approval. Doing those right, and taking the time to do them, is a huge undertaking.”

Another catch the audience will notice is the set. Pasqua, along with Brendan Anderson playing the role of Ken, will actually paint a canvas on stage live. “We are a mess. It is glorious,” Pasqua noted.

Canvas? Check. An art studio? Double-check. “We are building a fully functioning art studio on stage. We have huge canvases we build, paint we use, and actual running water,” he explained.

So why all the trouble for just a play? Pasqua did not pause at this question. “This play moved me,” he said. “Is it good literature? It won the Tony in 2010. I think so.”

He goes further to add this play was not the typical high school drama production, but a leap into professional theatre. “It’s a play about ideas. It’s a play about grand philosophical ideas, and I think that screams college,” he said.

The production to be staged in LCCC’s Playhouse will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19-20 and Sept. 25–27.

Reservations for tickets at $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and children can be made by emailing or calling 307-432-1626.