Excerpt from “Red” by John Logan, downloaded from https://department.monm.edu/theatre/Rankin/Classes/INTG101/assignments/RED%20Script.htm
ROTHKO. … “RED”?! You want to paint the thing?! Go ahead — here’s red — ! (He clumsily slings packets of various red paints at Ken.) And red! And red! And red! — I don’t even know what that means! What does “red” mean to me? You mean scarlet? You mean crimson? You mean plum-mulberry-magenta-burgundy-salmon-carmine-carnelian-coral? Anything but “red”! What is “RED”?! (Rothko stands, getting his breath, collecting himself. Beat. Ken picks up the packet of paint from the floor. Rothko prowls, discontent. Pause.)
KEN. I meant sunrise.
KEN. I meant the red at sunrise ... The feeling of it.
ROTHKO. (Derisive.) Oh, the “feeling of it.” (Beat. Ken continues to clean up, clearing away the bucket of paint and brush. Beat.) What do you mean the feeling of it?
KEN. I didn’t mean red paint only. I meant the emotion of red at sunrise.
ROTHKO. Sunrise isn’t red.
KEN. Yes it is.
ROTHKO. I’m telling you it’s not.
KEN. Sunrise is red and red is sunrise. (Ken keeps cleaning up.) Red is heartbeat. Red is passion. red wine. red roses. Red lipstick. Beets. Tulips. Peppers.
ROTHKO. Arterial blood.
KEN. That too. (Rothko thinks about it.)
ROTHKO. Rust on the bike on the lawn.
KEN. And apples ... And tomatoes.
ROTHKO. Dresden firestorm at night. The sun in Rousseau, the flag in Delacroix, the robe in El Greco.
KEN. A rabbit’s nose. An albino’s eyes. A parakeet.
ROTHKO. Florentine marble. Atomic flash. Nick yourself shaving, blood in the Barbasol.
KEN. The ruby slippers. Technicolor. That phone to the Kremlin on the president’s desk.
ROTHKO. Russian flag, Nazi flag, Chinese flag.
KEN. Persimmons. Pomegranates. Redlight district. Red tape. Rouge.
ROTHKO. Lava. Lobsters. Scorpions.
KEN. Stop sign. Sports car. A blush.
ROTHKO. Viscera. Flame. Dead Fauvists.
KEN. Traffic lights. Titian hair.
ROTHKO. Slash your wrists. Blood in the sink.
KEN. Santa Claus.
ROTHKO. Satan. (Beat.) So ... red.
KEN. Exactly. (Rothko gazes thoughtfully at his painting.)
ROTHKO. We got more cigarettes?
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