In the realm of theater, there are rare productions that transcend time and space, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of audiences. The Necessary Theatre’s 2023 staging of John Logan’s renowned play, “RED,” directed by Bart Guingona, is undoubtedly one of those extraordinary experiences. Taking place ten years after its initial run in Manila, this captivating revival, featuring Guingona as Mark Rothko and JC Santos as Ken, effortlessly transports the audience into the world of art and emotion.
Red Hot Performances
Bart Guingona’s portrayal of the enigmatic artist Mark Rothko is nothing short of mesmerizing. Guingona’s command of the stage, coupled with his profound understanding of Rothko’s complex psyche, brings the character to life in all his glorious complexity. Guingona’s nuanced performance effortlessly captures the artist’s inner turmoil, vulnerability, and unyielding passion for his craft. Compared to ten years ago when his challenge was to understand it, Guingona this time around is much wiser about the material and completely internalized what it was actually saying.
JC Santos is brilliant in the role of Ken, and provides a perfect foil to Guingona’s Rothko. Santos’s embodiment of the eager and ambitious young assistant is remarkable, showcasing his versatility as an actor. The chemistry between the two actors is palpable, as they engage in a captivating dance of mentorship and self-discovery. Santos exudes an infectious energy, injecting moments of levity and innocence into the production, perfectly complementing Guingona’s commanding presence.
A Visual Masterpiece
Mark Daniel Dalacat’s production design, with its meticulously recreated studio space, serves as a canvas on which the emotional journey of the characters unfolds. The attention to detail is impeccable, from the scattered brushes and paint-splattered drop cloths to the evocative use of lighting by Gabo Tolentino and sound by Jose Buencamino. Under Bart Guingona’s astute direction, every aspect of “Red” comes together seamlessly to create a climactic feast for the senses.
A Blazing Triumph
“Red” is not merely a play; it is an experience that resonates long after the final bow. Bart Guingona’s masterful direction and his exceptional performance as Mark Rothko, alongside JC Santos’s captivating portrayal of Ken, create a profound connection between the audience and the characters. The Necessary Theatre’s restaging of this modern classic is a testament to the enduring power of theater to transport, inspire, and provoke introspection.
“RED” reminds us of the transformative nature of art, the complexities of the human condition, and the eternal quest for meaning. This staging is nothing short of extraordinary, resulting in a theatrical masterpiece that undoubtedly cements itself as a theater milestone of 2023.
John Logan’s “RED” will have a rerun on September 1, 2, and 3 at the PETA Theater Center.