A CHANCE conversation 10 years after discovering an award-winning play has led a Castlemaine man to direct a new version of RED.
The account of one of the 20th century's greatest artists, Mark Rothko, begins at the Capital Theatre on Saturday.
Castlemaine director Rob Jorritsma was in the middle of an acting skills workshop a decade ago when he was handed part of the script.
"The play was reasonably new at the time. I was blown away by it," he said.
Mr Jorritsma happened to run into Jeff Jones from Maldon-based theatre company Hobo Playhouse, who mentioned plans for the play.
Rehearsals had been a great, but at times difficult, process, Mr Jorritsma said, with two actors preparing to spend an hour-and-a-half on stage with at times high-emotions.
"There's a lot in the play that jumps at you, often in lines that you have read many times before. Even this morning we had a rehearsal and we found out new things again," he said.
"I think it will keep developing even when we open."
The director and Castlemaine actor Andrew Le Clercq, who plays Rothko, had deep-dived into the artist's life.
"It's a very interesting period in art," Mr Jorritsma said.
"It was just before pop art came through and the play is about that time. Rothko was working as an abstract expressionist and then Andy Warhol and those like him came through with Campbell's soup cans and portraits of Marilyn Monroe."
Viewed through the eyes on an assistant played by Castlemaine's Peter Bevin, the play examines Rothko at the peak of his creativity, as well as the ever-changing relationship between artists and creations.
Rothko sought to make paintings that would bring people to tears, according to Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art
"I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions-tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on," the gallery, which has exhibited a number of his works, quotes him as saying.
"And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions ... If you ... are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point."
The original production of RED won six Tony Awards in 2010.
"We are all very excited about the play. It is beautifully written and it plays itself. The text is just fantastic," Mr Jorritsma said.
RED will be performed at The Engine Room, 58 View St, Bendigo on August 17, 23 and 24 at 8pm and on Sunday, August 18 and 25 at 2pm.
For more information visit the Capital's website or call 5434 6100.
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