May 20, 2015

There’s very little creeping in the Public Theater’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit production of “Macbeth.” And the pace the director Edward Torres sets isn’t exactly petty. Part of a project dedicated to bringing Shakespeare to underserved audiences, this sped-up and slimmed-down tragedy toured prisons, shelters and community centers before bundling its witches and thanes back to Lafayette Street. Mr. Torres knocked out audiences a few years ago with his staging of Kristoffer Diaz’s “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” a wrestling comedy that was also a stealthy piece of social commentary. His style is brisk and kinetic, which you sense in the Scottish play’s opening scene, when a critical battle is fought in about 45 seconds. For “Macbeth,” this is both a strength and a snag. The Mobile Shakespeare Unit has had great success with comedies and romances like “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” plays that depend on event and incident and the occasional dance party. But tragedy relies more heavily on character, and this approach doesn’t really allow its characters to develop.