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STAGE REVIEW

Making art, humanizing an artist, in ‘Red’

Thomas Derrah (above left with Karl Baker Olson, and below) stars as artist Mark Rothko in SpeakEasy Stage Company’s “Red.’’ Thomas Derrah (above left with Karl Baker Olson, and below) stars as artist Mark Rothko in SpeakEasy Stage Company’s “Red.’’ (photos by craig bailey/perspective photo)
By Terry Byrne
Globe Correspondent / January 10, 2012
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At first blush, “Red’’ seems like an art history lecture dressed up to look like drama. But in the hands of Thomas Derrah, and under the deft direction of David R. Gammons, SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production quickly becomes a suspenseful story with life-and-death consequences. The play follows a fictionalized Mark Rothko, struggling to make paintings that engage viewers’ emotions at a time when collectors are interested in art as pleasant decoration.

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RED Play by John Logan

Directed by David R. Gammons

Set, Cristina Todesco. Costumes, Gail Astrid Buckley. Lighting, Jeff Adelberg. Sound, Bill Barclay.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company. At: Wimberly Theatre, Stanford Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, through Feb. 4. Tickets: $50-$55. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com.