What do you see? What do you see?
It’s the reverberating theme of the visually stunning and thoughtfully stimulating production by Shatterbox Theatre. Red by John Logan is directed by Georgia Papanicolaou and stars Pat Larkin and Jacob Dey. In a 3-night run at The Regent Theatre, the first two nights were well received by audiences and the buzz surrounding the show lasted well past the lobby where people were mesmerized by not only the skill of each actor, but the stunningly striking visuals created by props and lighting. The essence of impressionist artist Mark Rothko was captured by Pat Larkin’s impressive portrayal but also by the artistic and surreal larger than life canvases that comprised the stage.
At first the play appears to start out with slow progression, but the pace of the actors dialogue is deceptively quick. Dey and Larkin are adept at delivering the dialogue in quick succession and with amazing range of emotion and thoughtfulness. The dramatic pauses are so good they create a nuance of suspense and curiosity.
Dey portrays the impressionable young apprentice “Ken” with convincing naiveté. His progression in maturity and confidence is rather enjoyable and funny to witness. Currently a Queen’s University Theatre Major, Dey brought his natural talent to the stage and created a very convincing portrayal of the fictional art assistant “Ken”. His physical commitment to the role is evident. He had a comfortable command of the stage as he worked throughout his dialogue, whether it was stretching a canvas or building a frame. And his light-hearted dancing during one solo scene was a hilarious addition to a play that builds to quite a dramatic and emotional climax.
Pat Larkin’s performance is intentional and well-crafted. He exudes the very spirit of the man that was famous for his obsession with Nietzsche and mythology, his smoking and scotch drinking habit, and for creating “multiform” pieces of art that seemed to vibrate when you looked at them. Like the man himself, who would never commit himself to a singular art form, Larkin shows how idiosyncratic the man could be in life. The dark humour and philosophical musings paired with enormous ego and chain smoking is exquisitely displayed like a man brought back from the dead.
But by the end of the play, the lighting effects and the sheer size and scope of the stage set leaves the audience breathless. The set glows with a surreal light which is rather genius on the part of the technical team for Shatterbox and director Georgia Papanicolaou (who is also the co-founder of the theatre company).
There is one more night to be able to see this amazing production on the Regent Theatre stage, and next week they will be playing at Capers in Belleville for a night of high-quality dinner theatre. Tickets are available online and at the door through the box office.
People of PEC would like to give thanks to Sean Ferguson for his incredible images taken from back stage and for allowing us to use them for this review.