Swannanoa teacher stars in 'RED' at 35below

Veteran Asheville actor John Hall tackles a giant of a role in RED playing at 35below Nov. 3-19.

ArtSpace Charter School teacher John Hall tackles a giant of a roll in "RED," a new play staged in November at 35below, a theater in Asheville.

Mockingbird Theatre Productions, in association with Asheville Community Theatre, is bringing the play Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. from Nov. 3-19. 

Hall is a sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at ArtSpace and has performed for years in Western North Carolina, most recently in "Peter and the Starcatcher," "Jeeves Intervenes" and "Amadeus." 

Winner of six Tony awards including Best Play in 2010, "RED" was written by playwright John Logan, a multi-award winning writer in theater and film. Set in New York City in 1959, the play takes place during a crucial moment in the career of renowned Abstract-Expressionist artist Mark Rothko as he prepares for his greatest commission, a series of murals in New York’s prestigious Four Seasons restaurant.

A two-person show, "RED" is also about Rothko's assistant Ken, played by Alex Daly, at a time in which Rothko is struggling to fulfill his vision of creating a sacred space for his deeply emotional paintings in the temple of “status and conspicuous consumption” that is the Four Seasons. What follows is a series of clashes between the fiery and domineering Rothko and his young, impressionable assistant. As the explosive interaction between the two escalates, the audience learns of the famous painter’s artistic vision as well as his battle with the New York art world and his own inner demons. Seemingly a blank slate, assistant and budding artist Ken reveals a devastating secret in his life, as he pushes back against Rothko’s controlling nature.

“The painter Mark Rothko was a true revolutionary,” Hall said, “creating a uniquely original as well as highly emotional and spiritual painting process. He truly believed art could save humanity.”

“Both characters have been scarred by life but have chosen to deal with these wounds in very different ways," the play's director, Chanda Calentine, said. "Their interaction in the painter’s studio, in the midst of creating art, is riveting.”

Tickets are available at, 828-254-1320 and at the Asheville Community Theatre box office.