Before discussing this largely admirable production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, I should mention that it was partly marred by the amplification used in the Gerald W. Lynch Theater. I say partly only because some kind soul appears to have noticed there was a problem and reported it during the intermission to someone with the authority to tell the board operator to turn it down. Some amplification remained during the second half, but it was reduced to tolerable levels. There should be no amplification at all in a play—or let’s say production—that was not written for a specific kind of sound design, or in an open-air situation with less than ideal acoustics. If the less-than-ideal acoustics of the Lynch Theater make amplification necessary, Lincoln Center should find a space that can accommodate Shakespeare without it. (They sometimes use the The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the YMCA, which would be suitable in this way, but it has only 145 seats.) The Lynch has 595 seats, while the theaters where Richard III was performed in Ireland, the Town Hall Theatre, Galway seats 399 and the Abbey 492. Perhaps there was no need for amplification there.
Out-kafka-ing Kafka, this brisk, engaging play is a testimony to the ghastly bureaucratic nightmare surrounding the American immigration scenario. Syrian-born lawyer-to-be Amena has everything in order to become a U.S. citizen but, starting with a visit to the immigration office, things go badly.