At the Crossroads of Theatre and Visual Arts: A Semiotic Approach to Directing John Logan's "Red"




May, Caroline

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John Logan’s 2011 play, Red, details a two year period of interaction between noted American painter Mark Rothko and a fictional character, his young assistant named Ken. Set during the latter part of Rothko’s life and career, the play explores key ideas about modern art, mortality, and legacy. Logan’s text relies heavily on Rothko’s real words, as documented in his writings about art, and also requires the use of real paint, brush, and canvas which are used onstage. The play thus creates a rich ground to consider semiotics and the creation of meaning in language, visual arts, and theatre performance. This thesis considers Rothko’s art and the theory of semiotics as they relate to the artistic process of directing a one-hour cut of Red for public performance. Chapter one of the thesis offers a brief biography of Mark Rothko and consideration of his work; chapter two presents a survey of semiotic theory; chapter three details the artistic process of analyzing, preparing, and directing Red, and chapter four presents documentation of the production process.



Theatre., Semiotics., Directing.