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‘Red’ runs through March 4 at Spring Valley

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Audience members of the Sopris Theatre Company’s closing weekend of “Red” will have the opportunity to be a part of the exploration of the process that is creating art — after all, the works created for the production must be destroyed after the curtain closes on the show. It’s tradition.

The play, first produced in London in 2009, has made its way to the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus. It follows abstract artist Mark Rothko’s accepting a sizable commission in his later career in 1958: painting a series murals for the elite Four Seasons restaurant in New York. The biographical play tells the tale of Rothko and his rather idealist assistant, Ken, navigating how to balance their artistic integrity with the confines of commerciality.

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Rothko, played by Gary Ketzenbarger, famously tells his assistant — performed by Joseph Gamble — that “There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend. One day the black will swallow the red.” The line reflects both Rothko’s style at that time in his career, which had moved decidedly more expressionist and featured large blocks of color, and his internal struggle with creating works for an environment he found unsuitable for said works.

Kelly Ketzenbarger directs this production of “Red,” and tickets are available on Eventbrite for $18 and a discounted $13 for students, seniors and CMC employees.

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At the end of the performance run, the blackness of the darkened theater will have indeed swallowed the red. But there’s beauty in impermanence.

Next Steps
When: March 2-3 at 7 p.m.
and March 4 at 2 p.m.
Where: Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley
How much: $18 adults, $13 students/seniors/CMC employees
How: eventbrite.com/e/red-tickets-42063071780

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