Theatricum Botanicum Announces 2020 Summer Season In Topanga
Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum has announced its annual summer line-up of theater, music and performance in its unique and stunning outdoor setting in Topanga.
Addressing political, economic and climate change concerns through both words and action, the company will present five plays, opening in rapid succession and performed in repertory throughout the summer; a host of satellite events; and continue its concerted effort to "Go Green" and protect our environment.The season kicks off on June 6 with William Shakespeare's political tragedy, Julius Caesar, a chilling - and eerily timely - thriller about power, political change and the elusive nature of truth. In ancient Rome, Caesar's tyrannical rule has polarized the city. His assassination divides the people, the senators, even his friends, into warring factions, as the republic descends into bloody civil chaos.June 7 will see the return of A Midsummer Night's Dream, an annual audience favorite. But this summer, Theatricum changes it up, infusing Shakespeare's beautiful language with music and song to heighten the pleasure. 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. Joining the repertoire on June 13 is another buoyant comedy by the Bard, The Merry Wives of Windsor - this time re-set in 1950s small-town America to a score of rockin' '50s tunes. When opportunistic schemer and womanizer John Falstaff blows into town on his Harley and tries to woo two wealthy women at once, the townspeople gleefully plot his comeuppance. Things might seem picture perfect in "Small Town U.S.A"... but just underneath the surface, the fight for change is in full force as the women's rights movement heats up.June 20 sees the opening of 'night, Mother, the Pulitzer Prize-winning two-hander by Marsha Norman, here starring real-life mother and daughter Ellen Geer and Willow Geer. Life in the mother-daughter Cates household is changed forever when 40-something Jessie announces to Mama that she plans to kill herself before the night is over. Over the course of 90 minutes, in real time, Thelma desperately works to convince her daughter that life is worth living. Eloquent and darkly humorous, 'night, Mother has been hailed as an American classic and one of the most powerful contemporary dramas ever written. Finally, the world premiere of The Last, Best Small Town by local playwright John Guerra opens on July 11. Two neighboring families - one Latinx and one white - live in nearby Fillmore, the self-proclaimed "Last, Best Small Town in Southern California." Set during the first decade of the 21st century, immediately following the financial crisis, the children of these families come of age, fall in love, suffer loss, and continually hunt for their place in a changed world that can no longer promise them a better life than their parents.All five productions will play in repertory through Sept. 27. 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 five plays in a single summer weekend.In addition to theater, Theatricum will present four special events on its mainstage. On Sunday, May 10 (Mother's Day) at 2 p.m.: Momentum Place, Theatricum's yearly offering of modern dance, aerial acts, juggling and performance art curated by Lexi Pearl; on Saturday, July 4 from 11 p.m. - 5 p.m.: Theatricum's annual Family Barn Dance; on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m.: the company's bi-annual The Woody Guthrie Story, a tribute to the songwriter, folklorist and labor leader who was a longtime Theatricum friend; and, on a date in October TBA, a concert by acclaimed singer/songwriter (and native Topangan) Inara George to benefit the theater's artistic and educational programming. Additional summer programming includes Under the Oaks, four evenings of music and performance in the intimate S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion; comedy improv with Theatricum's in-house troupe Off The Grid; Family Fundays, offering interactive children's theater from Creative PlayGround and music from Peter Alsop's Kids Koncerts; and Theatricum's annual Halloween celebration, which sees the bucolic Botanicum transformed into the haunted "BOO-tanicum." For tickets, subscriptions, group discounts and a full schedule of theater, music and family entertainment, call 310-455-3723 or go to www.theatricum.com.