I know what it says about this city, the country, and our world that the production of Macbeth presented on an outdoor stage during a steamy summer was not crowded until–well, ever. I arrived an hour before the show and there were 4 other people there. The audience didn’t start to filter in steadily until a half hour before the play started, and even at curtain time, there were still seats available.
I know what it means that this fantastic night of theater is relatively unknown in the city, despite being an innovative adaptation filled with talented actors.
I know it’s important to recognize and discuss why this free event was the first time I’ve been to a free event here that didn’t require a fight or at the very least strong patience to attend.
But I don’t want to focus on these things right now. I don’t want to get into how the same production would have been packed in Central Park, or the right parts of Brooklyn. I don’t want to talk about how a large portion of the audience was black, and how that doesn’t seem as common at the other, more mainstream, free summer events, even though minorities make up the majority of New York City’s population.
I don’t want to address it here because I don’t want it to be real, but I also don’t want to write about it because I don’t have the words to express how absurd it is.
Still, if I ignore an opportunity to point it out, I may not be making the problem worse, but I’m certainly not contributing to any positive change.
So I’ll say it: fewer people saw this production of Macbeth because it took place in Harlem. And they really missed out.