The old portal to Seattle Rep and Intiman at Seattle Center used to resemble a truck-loading alley. But now, after a $4.8 million makeover by Weinstein A|U and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, it’s been rechristened “Theater Commons.” Certainly the space is nicer now, with terracing, benches, and plantings sloping up to the Rep, a building that really doesn’t deserve such a pleasant pedestal. A po-mo knockoff designed in 1983 by NBBJ, the queasy green layer-cake hasn’t aged well. The Commons is more clean and modern: smart metal benches, concrete ramps, and gravel underfoot like a Parisian park. Then there’s the temporary installation Windfall by Seattle artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo (aka Lead Pencil Studio). Over 1,000 small wind-chimes have been hung from newly planted London Plane trees. (They’re intended to match the same older trees marching down Mercer.) On a breezy day, the iron chimes writhe and flutter agreeably. The ringing serves as a higher sonic counterpoint to the lower leafy rustle, though some saplings have been hung, like overlarded Christmas trees, with as many ornaments as they have leaves. But you wouldn’t want it always to be windy. Too much cheerful chiming can drive you insane. How will the actors feel, taking a quick smoke outside the stage door, about the incessant tinkle? With the Congo brothel drama Ruined opening July 2 at Intiman, Windfall might spoil the mood. BRIAN MILLER

June 15-Sept. 17, 2010

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