- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Shakespeare Theatre Company has just upstaged Washington’s other new performing arts venues with its Sidney Harman Hall in the city’s Penn Quarter. This sophisticated, modernist design by Toronto architect Jack Diamond, inserted into an 11-story office building at 610 F St. NW, achieves the company’s goal of bringing the Bard into the 21st century. It pairs an airy, glass-fronted lobby with a dark, cherry-paneled auditorium, which seats 776 at full capacity. The theater is designed to be flexible but conveys the permanence of traditional timber architecture in its wood-lined hall. So that it can accommodate musical and dance performances as well as plays, the front of the auditorium can be reconfigured with 100 seats wheeled into different positions. Retractable curtains behind the wood-slatted walls can be raised or lowered to change the acoustics. The company will be trying out Harman Hall’s various permutations this season, starting Oct. 27 when Christopher Marlowe’s “Edward II” opens in the new theater.

Deborah K. Dietsch

The American Film Institute Silver Theatre’s 18th annual Latin-American Film Festival starts its second week today and continues through Oct. 7, showcasing about 30 titles. This weekend’s selections include Fists of a Nation, a Panamanian documentary about the career of prizefighter Roberto Duran.

The AFI Silver also hosts a coincidental Asian Pacific American Film Festival that opens tonight at 7 with Justin Lin’s Finishing the Game. “Game” is a mock-documentary that purports to recall the efforts to find a replacement for Bruce Lee when he died during the production of “Game of Death” in 1972. The festival will continue through Oct. 6 at a number of sites, including the Landmark E Street Cinema, the Freer and Sackler galleries, the U.S. Navy Memorial and the Rosslyn Spectrum.

The AFI Silver is at 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets range from $6.75 to $9.75. Call 301/495-6700 or see afi.com/silver. Most tickets for the Asian Pacific festival are priced from $7 to $10. For details on festival programming, see apafilm.org.

— Gary Arnold

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