Theatricum Botanicum Presents MOBY DICK--REHEARSED By Orson Welles

Theatricum Botanicum Presents MOBY DICK--REHEARSED By Orson Welles

A celebration of one of the greatest novels ever written and a triumph of theatrical imagination. Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum presents Moby Dick-Rehearsed by Orson Welles. Opening night is set for Saturday, June 8 at 8 p.m. on Theatricum's beautiful outdoor stage in Topanga, where performances will continue through Sept. 29 as part of the company's 2019 summer repertory season.

In Welles' ingenious adaptation of the famous novel by Herman Melville, a Shakespearean acting troupe works between performances of King Lear to create a play about Moby Dick. As the actors take up their new roles, the theater is transformed from a bare stage into the yardarms, sails, masts and deck of a ship hunting the great white whale. Under the direction of Ellen Geer and choreographed by Dane Oliver (Robby Award winner and LADCC nominee for his extraordinary fight choreography for last season's Haiti), the actors provide the action-packed adventure - and the audience's imagination provides the ocean, period costumes and the whale.

The production stars Theatricum company members Tavis L. Baker as Stubb, Tim Halligan as Peleg, KiDané Kelati as Pip, Jacob Louis as Elijah, Melora Marshall as Flask, Michael McFall as Queequeg, Dane Oliver as Ishmael, Gerald C. Rivers as Captain Ahab, Franc Ross as the director, Dante Ryan as Tashtego, Colin Simon as Starbuck and Isaac Wilkins as Daggoo. The creative team includes costume designer Beth Eslick, lighting designer Zach Moore and prop master Dante Carr, with original music and sound design by Marshall McDaniel. Kim Cameron is the production stage manager.

Moby Dick-Rehearsed premiered in 1955 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London, in a production directed by Welles. The original cast included Welles, Christopher Lee, Kenneth Williams, Joan Plowright, Patrick McGoohan, Gordon Jackson, Peter Sallis and Wensley Pithey. The play was published by Samuel French in 1965.

The production will perform in repertory on the main stage with currently running productions of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream. On June 22, Ellen Geer's new, freely adapted version of Henrik Ibsen's powerful An Enemy of the People joins the season, and Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Skin of Our Teeth kicks off on July 13. All five productions will continue to play in repertory through Sept. 29. A sixth production will open Aug. 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.

Moby Dick-Rehearsed opens on Saturday, June 8 at 8 p.m. and continues through Sept. 29. Tickets range from $10 - $42; children 4 and under are free. Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley. For a complete schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, call 310-455-3723 or visit

Photo Credit: Ian Flanders

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