We’re marking two major firsts this fall with our brand new production of the compelling Tony Award-winning play “Red” by John Logan. The two-man play captures a pivotal period in the tumultuous career of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. This will be the FIRST show fully produced by Livermore Performing Arts Center and also the FIRST production at the Bankhead in a “stage on stage” setting. Both the set and audience will be positioned directly on the stage.
While the Bankhead Theater has welcomed theatrical productions since it opened in 2007, most have been single performances of small-scale touring plays. More complex plays and musicals are difficult to mount for a single performance. In looking to add more theatrical productions, LVPAC’s Executive Director Scott Kenison found that a small “stage-on-stage” approach could be as cost effective as a touring show. For “Red,” the set and audience will be positioned between the fire curtain and the rear wall. As Scott said, the raw, industrial sense of the space will help create an appropriate visual backdrop for Rothko’s New York Bowery studio and the intimate, stage-on-stage setting will enhance the emotional connection between the audience and the work’s dramatic action.
He initially discussed staging the project with other local organizations, however many are busy during their fall season. Bringing the project inside also provided other benefits, as Scott believes it is the nature of people involved in the creative arts to seek and be inspired by opportunities to broaden their horizons and use their skills. We’ve established a reputation for presenting great artists and for supporting local groups through our resident company program and educational outreach. Now with ‘Red’ we can build on that, leveraging the creative energy, production skills, and administrative strengths we already have in place to produce, as well as present, great works.
The project is underwritten in part by the LVPAC Producer’s Fund, which was established to support projects or guest artists that expand and stretch the organization’s artistic efforts. The natural connection between LVPAC’s involvement in both the performing arts and the visual arts, at the Bankhead Theater and at the Bothwell Arts Center, yields exciting opportunities to experience both. On display in the Bankhead Gallery during “Red” will be “The Art of Drama,” an exhibit of works curated by the Bothwell that express the concept of drama as seen through the eyes of a variety of local artists. Look for other related events as well.