A Valentine to the Arts with Arena Stage

(clockwise, top left to center) Visitor adds her own words to a surrealist-inspired group writing game about Morris Louis's Seal; Marshall Keys Quartet plays live jazz; visitors enjoy snacks; a gallery educator tells the story of intimacy and art for founders Duncan and Marjorie Phillips; the art of costume design comes to life with displays from Arena Stage; guests engage with one another in the Music Room. Photos: Sue Ahn

While dramatic tableaux brought Daumier’s The Uprising to life downstairs, visitors throughout the museum experienced a valentine to the arts–literature, music, culinary, costume, and, of course, theater and visual–during Phillips after 5 with Arena Stage. Stay tuned for a surrealist, crowd-sourced story about Morris Louis’s Seal created in a group writing game in the galleries that night. We’ll publish it here and on Arena Stage’s Stage Banter blog.

Dramatic Play

At February’s Phillips after 5 the museum collaborated with Arena Stage to celebrate their production of John Logan’s play Red and our Rothko Room. Teaching artists from Arena led theater workshops that brought artworks from the museum to life through tableaux vivants or living pictures. Have a look at participants at play!

Participants warm up by making individual tableaux. The inspiration: freeze like you just won the lottery. Photo: Charles Mahorney

More warm-up as participants collaborated to make a shape with a focal point. Photo: Charles Mahorney

In the next series, participants took Daumier's The Uprising as a source of inspiration for tableaux. Honoré Daumier, The Uprising (L'Emeute), 1848 or later. Oil on canvas, 34 1/2 x 44 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1925.

Participants create a tableau inspired by The Uprising. Photo: Charles Mahorney

Another tableau inspired by The Uprising. Photo: Charles Mahorney

Rothko on the Wall and on the Stage

(left) Edward Gero in the 2011 Goodman Theatre production of "Red." Photo: Liz Lauren. (right) The Rothko Room at The Phillips Collection. Photo (c) Robert Lautman

We’ve been closely following the development of Arena Stage’s production of John Logan’s play, Red, after our Rothko Room served as a resource for two actors preparing for the role of painter Mark Rothko, Alfred Molina and Edward Gero, as well as a young actor hoping to land the role of Ken, the assistant, in an upcoming production. We’re delighted to hear that the National Gallery of Art has installed three paintings from the artist’s Seagram Murals, the work around which the play unfolds. Red opens in Washington, D.C., on January 20.