Tina Benko, David Harewood
Photo: Es Devlin
And sometimes the design elements get in the way. For example, when the Rude Mechanicals perform Pyramus and Thisbe, the excellent Max Casella is overwhelmed by his wig, makeup, and costume. It doesn't make sense that he seems more real as an ass than as a human. (I also wish that Taymor had used her prodigious imagination to come up with something better--and less annoying--than the gay and fat stereotypes among the Rude Mechanicals.)
Perhaps Taymor should have jettisoned the text and relied solely on her gorgeous visual language and movement. She could have presented a sort of "variations on a theme by Shakespeare." Instead, the two shows on display don't mesh, and inmportant scenes are reduced to interruptions of Taymor's cavalcade of marvels.
Some Notes on the Polonsky Shakespeare Center
I was excited to be going to a new theatre, but I found it disappointing.
The lobby is shallow and bland. The ladies room is awkwardly set up and it is not easy to tell which booths are occupied.
It's very weird to have to bend over in the middle of the line to the men's room to use the water fountain.
There is only one staircase going to the auditorium, and it is not wide enough. Also, it feeds directly into the audience-right doorway, causing a logjam at the top of the stairs. (If your seat is audience-left, consider using the elevator, which bypasses the crowd.)
While I did not experience this personally, I have heard complaints that the stage lights block much of the view of the people sitting in the balcony.
On the other hand, in the orchestra center, the seats are comfortable and there is a reasonable amount of leg room.
(press ticket, third row center)