MEASURE FOR MEASURE Kicks Off Theatricum Botanicum's 2012 Summer Season, 6/2


Theatricum Botanicum's 2012 Summer Repertory Season will present four plays in repertory on its mainstage: Measure for Measure and A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare; Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw; and The Women of Lockerbie by Deborah Brevoort. In addition, Cherry Docs by David Gow will get six performances in Theatricum's intimate second performance space.

"This season tackles serious issues with hard-hitting tragedy and dark comedy," explains Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer. "None of these plays gives us easy answers. But it's important that the questions be asked. Each of us is good and bad, we all have light and dark sides, but we make a choice as to which side wins out."

Theatricum Botanicum is known for its spirited productions of Shakespeare and modern classics in a spectacular outdoor setting. Unlike companies that stage continuous runs of a single play, Theatricum, using a company of actors, performs each play on a rotating basis so that it's possible to see all four mainstage plays in a single summer weekend.

Opening the season tonight, June 2 is Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare. Director Ellen Geer sets Shakespeare's unconventional comedy of ethics, sexuality and deception in California during the turbulent '60s when issues of women's rights, religious freedoms and the emergence of Black and Latino pride were at the forefront of political debate.

Opening the very next day, on Sunday, June 3, is Theatricum's signature production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, co-directed by Willow Geer and Melora Marshall. Comic rustics, thwarted lovers, transfigured humans and war in the fairy world make up this most entertaining and beguiling of Shakespeare's comedies.

One week later, opening on June 9, Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw joins the mix. Ellen Geer directs Shaw's epic masterpiece and prophetic depiction of a society teetering on the brink. Young Ellie Dunn is invited to the country home of the eccentric Captain Shotover by his daughter Hesione. Soon the family is divided over Ellie's decision to marry for money, not love. But despite the brilliant debates about politics, economics, desire, war, education, religion and science, they are all ignoring the greater cloud that is looming. Written before World War I, Shaw said about the play, "It has more of the miracle, more of the mystic belief in it than any of my others."

When The Women of Lockerbie, written by Deborah Bevoort and directed by Melora Marshall opens on June 30, all four mainstage productions will be up and running. Inspired by a true story, The Women of Lockerbie is a stunning tribute to the triumph of love over hate. A mother from New Jersey roams the hills of Lockerbie, Scotland, looking for her son's remains which were lost in the bombing of Pan Am 103. There, she meets the women of Lockerbie who are fighting the U.S. Government to obtain the clothing of the victims found in the plane's wreckage. Determined to convert an act of hatred into an act of love, the women want to wash the clothes of the dead and return them to the bereaved families.

On September 6, Cherry Docs by David Gow will open in Theatricum's intimate second performance space, the S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion, where each of six performances will be followed by a panel discussion. When a Jewish lawyer is assigned to defend a young skinhead accused of brutally killing an immigrant man, he must alter his preconceived notion of humanity in order to discover forgiveness. Playwright David Gow dares audiences to examine their capacity for compassion and poses a question: is there atonement for all crimes?

In addition to the five plays in the Repertory Season, Theatricum offers a variety of satellite programming including Under the Oaks featuring comedy improv, poetry and music; a series of special mainstage engagements including Lexi Pearl's "Momentum Place," "A Night Under the Stars with Amy Madigan," Wendie Malick & Friends," and "The Woody Show," a tribute to songwriter, folklorist and labor leader Woody Guthrie, who was also a longtime Theatricum friend; Family Fundays – featuring CreativePlayGround and Peter Alsop's Kids Koncerts – on Saturday and Sunday mornings; Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights featuring free readings of new plays on select Sundays; and Theme Dinner Buffets in the idyllic Theatricum gardens. Audiences are always invited to picnic on the lovely grounds before or after a performance.

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