Meet the Cast of RED – Mark Finlay is Mark Rothko

sHeadshot7BandWWhat is my role in this production? I am playing Mark Rothko – Rothko was an artist, considered one of the forefront Abstract Expressionists of the 1950’s.  Rothko was very secretive about his process and very philosophical about his work and its impact.

What is your background in theatre? I am a very sporadic performer, usually only doing a show once every 5-7 years.  These past few months have been an exception, as this is the second in a row that I am acting in.  I was cast as Molokov in the Walterdale’s production of Chess this past summer, which was my very first show here. Unquestioningly, Rothko is by far the most difficult and challenging part I have ever been asked to take on – there is no singing, and no comedy… it is a dramatic role with TONS of dialogue.

What brought you out for this show? I heard that they might be looking for large guys that yell, and thought I might get to shave my head… I’m kind of typecast that way!  Actually, Bethany Hughes (the director) was choreographer on Chess, and I enjoyed working with her and she seemed like she would be fun to work with in a different capacity!

Why did you audition? I have been asking myself the same question…I don’t undertake the audition process often, and I felt that maybe if I did more of them I would learn something or get better at it.  A number of people from Chess auditioned, and I didn’t fully decide until very late in the process.  I had no real expectation of even being considered for such a significant role in a production, and was quite surprised when I was offered the part!

What about this show intrigues you? I am curious to see which character the audience most identifies with: Ken or Rothko?  The two have vastly disparate views on art, intention, experience and mortality.  Of late, I have been able to identify with Rothko.

What is the most challenging thing about working on this show? The most challenging thing is easily THE SCRIPT!!  There are SO MANY WORDS – Words that many people I know wouldn’t commonly use in conversation!  Getting a handle on the monologues was probably my biggest challenge, as well as being able to “see” art in the same way Rothko does.  I am able to identify with aspects of Rothko, so I think the character came easier to me than the dialogue did.

The most enjoyable thing? There are multiple things that I’m enjoying.  I really enjoying getting to know the people I’m working with – that aspect of theatre probably is the part that I enjoy the most.  Rehearsals are HARD WORK… anyone that tells you different is either far more skilled than I am, or delusional.  There are fun and funny moments, but it’s hard work – that can be enjoyable, but it is also fatiguing.  The other thing I am enjoying is trying to be someone that I am most definitely NOT in real life.  Having also never seen this play before, I have no frame of reference to base my work off of – which is challenging but enjoyable as well.

Art plays a big role in this show. Who is your favorite artist and why? My favorite artists are my kids…I have a screen saver of a picture my youngest son drew about 4 years ago… it won’t be hanging in a gallery, but it is in my personal collection and continues to make me smile.

As far as other art, I am a fan of Michelangelo and Da Vinci.  I have two original Matt Boisvert pictures at home, and my wife and I have a smattering of other pictures from Albertan artists we know and appreciate.  As John Cleese once said in a Monty Python sketch:  “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”


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