A scene from Taming of the Shrew, by 19th-century American painter, Washington Allston.
Method Center Actors’ production of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Jasmin Haddad, makes use of the rooftop performance space at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center. The company intends to make “Shakes on the Roof” an annual event. The idea is to bring low-key Shakespeare productions into an intimate, casual setting. I find no fault with that. I also find no fault with the rooftop stage, which makes up for what it lacks in formality with hipster coolness. So, in the tradition of cinematic adaptations of Shrew, I give you:
10 Things I Love About Roof Decks
(1) When the weather gets hot, as it is wont to do come August, it’s usually a few degrees cooler and a good deal breezier on the roof.
(2) When the organizers let you bring your own picnic, as they do for this production, rooftop snacks and drinks are next-level al fresco.
(3) Neighbors can, and do, watch the play from upper-story windows.
(4) Helicopter and airplane sounds don’t actually ruin the play.
(5) Moonlight is the best light.
(6) Streetlights are the second best light (at least for some artistic purposes).
(7) For some reason, even though I know that plenty of Americans enjoy rooftop life and leisure, rooftop hangouts make me feel like I am in Europe.
(8) If, for some reason, the theatre required evacuation, everybody would get to clamber down an old, external fire escape. Basically, any play performed on a roof deck could accidentally become The Glass Menagerie at any moment. Maybe that adds some dramatic tension, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s definitely something.
(9) When you’re up on the roof, everything else seems somehow inconsequential. It’s not as if the mortgage suddenly vanishes, or world hunger becomes less of a an issue; but for a couple hours all the problems are “down there,” at street level, and blissfully out of mind.
(10) It feels like being in on a secret, or part of a club.
Taming of the Shrew runs through August 20th.