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Black: The Struggle for Significance

Autor:   •  October 27, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,819 Words (8 Pages)  •  848 Views

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THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Black: The Struggle for Significance

PID: 720244993

Wylder Shepherd Fondaw

9/15/2012

Red tells the story of artist Mark Rothko's commission to paint a set of murals for the affluent Four Seasons restaurant in New York City. He hires Ken, a young artist, as an assistant, and through their interactions, the contrasting styles and opinions are made clear. At the beginning of the play Ken seems earnest to please Rothko in any way, but as the play progresses, Ken begins to assert himself more and conflict arises between the two artists' attitudes as they both become more certain of their understanding of art and respective style. The plot, as well as the stage, lighting, and audience's reactions to the actors generated an evocative spectacle. From the moment I entered the darkened theater until even after I left, I was focused on something, whether my surroundings, the play or my own introspections which sprang from the play's dramatic action.

The moment I entered the Paul Green Theater, the room's lighting caught my attention. There was light coming from the grid above the stage as well as through the prop window on the set. Even around the sides of the stage were lights that glowed softly in the action's periphery. Not only was the light intensity varied during the course of the play, the color and origin of the light changed as well. There were even lights that seemed to contradict each other. While the lights over the stage dimly reflected off the black surface with leery luminescence, a blue light glowed under the lip of the stage in what—under different circumstances—could have been cheerful. As we walked in, a dark blue lamp near the ground lit the floor enough that I could see where I were going, but stayed on during the entire play, adding a mildly distracting, but not altogether deleterious addition to the play's dramatic lighting. As a result of these dynamic lights, I saw how the set, characters, and the actual paintings on stage changed in the presence of different intensities, as well as different colors of light. In a particularly memorable scene, Rothko discussed the nature of light and how only in the proper light can his art be seen how he wants it to be seen, with the full depth of emotion and tragedy he felt while creating it. With the lights dim, Rothko uses visceral words like "pulse" to describe the energy of the paintings, but when he turns up the studio lights, Ken describes them as "flat" and "vulgar." What I noticed in this scene, however, was the visual effect on the stage when Rothko turned on the fluorescent lights. Once

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