I took my nephew, now a sophomore at Columbia, to see Ethan Hawke in the Scottish Play at Lincoln Center last night. My nephew is far from my sister and home, and the Columbia campus is a tad remote from the cultural hub of the city, so I thought we’d make an entire evening of it. I booked a reservation at Joe Allen after the show. He has seen a couple of musicals on Broadway, but that’s pretty much the extent of my nephew’s theatre-going experience. This was the first time, he said, that he was seeing “a drama.” I liked that he dressed up for the occasion.
Jack O’Brien’s production of MACBETH indeed provided plenty of drama. Both acts begin with the house lights on, and in both instances the director lets us know that we are entering a world of darkness and hurt. The opening sound and light effects that begin the evening seem to hammer the very light out of the room; something wicked this way comes. The cast is, on the whole, quite good, and this director’s control over his milieu is complete and masterful. His staging is imaginative, fluid, and visually stunning. He is aided by wonderful designers, and by the cavernous thrust arena of the Vivian Beaumont. I mean really, it is thrilling to watch his work, and I am glad that my nephew’s introduction to dramatic theatre on Broadway was in the hands of the astonishing Jack O’Brien.
Dinner at Joe Allen and a late nightcap at the always fun Don’t Tell Mama across the street didn’t exactly suck, either. It was a full evening of all kinds of culture, and I am pretty sure my nephew went back to Columbia campus feeling pretty good about the possibilities of daily life in New York. I am not so certain, however, that he made it to his 8:30AM Oceanography class. Don’t tell my sister.