The Theater: A New Treasure on the Thames

From the outside, the new home of Britain's National Theater looks like a concrete cubist fortress. Yet, looking out from its wide cantilevered terraces, one might be on the bridge of an ocean liner. Scanning the Thames from its South Bank, one sees the helmeted dome of St. Paul's to the right, and on the left, the smoothly scalloped arches of Waterloo Bridge. Within the building, the staggered lobby levels form spacious coves of unanticipated intimacy, soon to be thronged with hosts of theatergoers.

Entering the chief playhouse in this three-theater complex, the...

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