Songs of love, laughter, and enchantment once again Reign in Theatricum’s magical outdoor setting.
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night opens Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum summer repertory season on Saturday June 1, followed on Sunday, June 2, by the theater’s signature production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Mischief, madness and romance are in the air in William Shakespeare‘s rollicking comedy, Twelfth Night. Shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria, and fearing that her brother Sebastian has drowned, Viola must disguise herself as a man. She falls in love with the neighboring Duke Orsino, who loves the Lady Olivia, who loves the disguised Viola. False appearances are the norm on this Island of Misrule, where the fool is king, the court jester is a philosopher, and hijinks among the servants are wickedly delicious. Ellen Geer directs and
composer Marshall McDaniel lends the familiar words and songs a refreshing new sound, lifting Shakespeare’s elevated language to even greater heights.
Bringing the Bard’s tale to riotous life is a cast of Theatricum favorites: Willow Geer as Viola, Christine Breihan as Olivia, Christopher W. Jones as Sir Toby Belch, Max Lawrence as Duke Orsino, Melora Marshall as Malvolio, Sean McConaghy as Antonio, Cavin Mohrhardt as Sebastian, Elizabeth Tobias as Maria, Frank Weidner as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Time Winters as Feste.
Twelfth Night was first seen in the Inns of Court shortly after Christmas (hence, the title). In Shakespeare’s Renaissance, this holiday was celebrated as a festival, in which everything was made delightfully topsy-turvy—much like the world of the play’s Illyria. Scholars believe that William Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night in 1601, near the middle of his career. Considered one of his finest comedies, it rivals his others in character development and plot sophistication. A play about infatuation and the outrageous things it causes us to do, Twelfth Night makes use of illusion, deception, disguise, and even madness, mixing in darker qualities often associated with more serious drama. Twelfth Night continues through Sept. 28.
On Sunday, June 2, at 4 p.m, A Midsummer Night’s Dream takes the stage. An audience favorite—with a set design unrivaled by any other theater, because it’s the real thing—the most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles is once again transformed into an enchanted forest inhabited by lovers both fairy and human. Shakespeare conjures a world of wonder, magic, and romance where comical misunderstandings and the pain of unrequited love are resolved, and all is reconciled through midsummer night revelries and the enduring power of nature.
One week later, Moby Dick–Rehearsed — a “whale of a tale” adapted by the great Orson Welles from Herman Melville’s novel, opens on June 8. On June 22, Ellen Geer’s new, freely adapted version of Henrik Ibsen‘s powerful An Enemy of the People joins the season. On July 13, Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Skin of Our Teeth completes the five productions that will play in repertory through September 29.
A sixth production open August 17 on the smaller stage in the theater’s intimate S. Mark Taper Pavilion. The Gin Game, by D.L. Coburn, another Pulitzer Prize-winner, will star long-time Theatricum company members and real-life husband-and-wife team, Alan Blumenfeld and Katherine James in a co-production with the Sierra Madre Playhouse.
Unlike most theaters in the L.A. area that stage continuous runs of a single play, Theatricum, using a company of actors, will perform each of the plays in repertory, making it possible to see all six plays in a single summer weekend.
Tickets range from $10–$42; children four and under are free.
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the San Fernando Valley. The amphitheater is terraced into the hillside, so audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Patrons are welcome to arrive early and picnic before a performance.
For a complete schedule of performances and to purchase tickets: (310) 455-3723; or visit theatricum.com; on facebook:www.facebook.com/theatricum. Follow us on twitter: @theatricum and instagram:@theatricum_botanicum.