I like my theatre smart and sassy, which I may have said before. Indeed, I may have intimated this very thing, at this very time of year, last year. Then, too, I had just been to a production by the Fred Skeleton Theatre Company at the Creekside Theatre in Winfield. Last year it was for the wonderful 'Venus in Furs' (see Wed 1 May 2013, 'The Play's the Thing'), and last night it was for the equally great 'Red'.
I am loving that there is a local theatre company that is approaching the live stage with intelligence and sophistication, pushing the local parameters in a really good way. Last night's play was another powerful two hander, presenting a fictionalised account of artist Mark Rothko's (he of the floating squares on canvases of saturated colour) first foray into creating a series of paintings for display at New York's Four Seasons' restaurant - a commercial venture. The production plays off Chris Froese's acclaimed artist Mark Rothko against his new studio assistant, played by Jacob Holloway.
Through the course of the evening the characters discuss the meaning of art and of being an artist, depression, the past as a tool for creating art, the validity (or lack thereof) of commercialism in art and a whole lot more besides, and they don't always reach the same conclusions. The play is provocative, at times moving and at times funny, and is well served by Froese and Holloway.
To slightly misquote the evening's dialogue - 'it's a risky act sending a play out into the world' but the Fred Skeleton Theatre company have done so bravely and successfully. In fact, the production just cleaned up at this year's recent Okanagan Zone Drama Festival, winning six awards including: Best Production: Red, Best Director: Rob Mason-Brown, Best Actor: Chris Froese, Best Supporting: Jacob Holloway, Best Set Decor: Fred Skeleton (Shannon Mason-Brown), and Best Backstage: Fred Skeleton (Vanessa Lomas).
If I were you, I would get onto the Fred Skeleton mailing list - pronto - to ensure you keep up to date on what they are producing next. I know I'm certainly going to.
Fred Skeleton Theatre Company: www.fredskeleton.com