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John Logan’s Red set to premiere in WA

13th July 2011

John Logan’s Red will have its Western Australian premiere on August 12 at the Subiaco Theatre Centre. The play was originally presented in 2009 at London’s Donmar Warehouse, the birthplace of so many recent theatrical successes. Last year it transferred to Broadway where it picked up six Tony awards including Best New Play.

Refreshingly the play has made it to Perth in just less than two years since its debut, certainly a sign that Perth audiences are embracing new works and developing an adventurous theatrical appetite. Stepping into the roles that garnered acclaim for Alfred Molina and a Tony for Eddie Redmayne will be local actors James Hagan and Will O’Mahony.

Red focuses on the true story of artist Mark Rothko who has been commissioned to paint what are now known as the Seagram Murals, a series of paintings for New York’s Four Season’s restaurant. In the late 1950’s Ken, a newly hired assistant joins Rothko in his Manhattan studio and is introduced to the artists’ uncompromising work aesthetic.

‘This play really does show the rigours of art, it is a physical act, as much as an intellectual and - for want a better word - artistic act,’ O’Mahony tells OUTinPerth as he prepares to take on the fictional role of Ken.

O’Mahony is looking forward to getting back on stage opposite the older and more experienced James Hagan. The two have been cast together in four different productions over the last few years including Perth Theatre Company’s production of The Haunting of Julian Gartrell where the two went ‘toe to toe’ each night – something that O’Mahony is looking forward to revisiting.

‘The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell was a Reg Cribb piece back in 2008 and it had very similar terrain. It was a young actor coming in to interview Australia’s most famous poet – so the terrain is very similar, it’s going to be very interesting.’
A single act play that runs for 90 minutes, Red is sure to be an intense ride for the audience. After reading the script O’Mahony is excited about the themes in the work and how they create an engaging theatrical experience.

‘The opposing forces in the play of idealism, commercialism and the integrity of art and that’s stretched to its limit. There’s always this tension of the old versus the new. It’s really terrific and holds the whole play together. It’s 90 minutes without an interval – it just sort of goes and goes and goes… there’s a lot of sizzle to it, and there’s also a lot of tenderness.’

Red sees author John Logan returning to theatrical writing after a successful stint in Hollywood where he has written a host of block buster films including Any Given Sunday, Gladiator, The Aviator and The Last Samurai. The Perth production is produced by Sally Burton and will be directed Lawrie Cullen-Tait.

Tickets on sale now at all BOCS Ticketing on 9484 1133 or

Graeme Watson

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