Will Geer Theatricum Presents Development Series BOTANICUM SEEDLINGS

The end of summer marks the close of the classical repertory season at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum.  However, the Botanicum continues its theatrical exploration by supporting new artistic voices through its ongoing development series for playwrights, "Botanicum Seedlings."  The program's fall playreadings are Brett Webster's Lost and Found in the Underground on Sunday, November 2 and Nude and Sunflower by Reba Waters Thomas on Sunday, November 9.  Readings begin at 1 pm and admission is free.

"We're particularly excited about these two plays, because they both speak to our time - politically and artistically - in very different ways," says playwright-in-residence Jennie Webb.  "The writers are coming from opposite directions, stylistically, and introducing Theatricum artists and audiences to their work is what Seedlings is all about."  Webb created and runs the program, which is structured to focus on the needs of writers with scripts at various stages of development. Writer/director Julie Retzlaff acts as Seedlings Literary Coordinator.

Opening the Botanicum Seedlings fall playreadings on November 2 is an expressionistic look at a sharply-divided America of the future, Lost and Found in the Underground by Brett Webster. Directed by Ronnie Clark (L.A.'s Ghost Road Company and Moving Arts, as well as  Arizona Shakespeare Company)  and featuring Theatricum company member  Gerald Rivers, the play is a riveting piece of poetic propaganda which tells the story of a people who refuse to be held down. Through the language of sex, love, violence and hope, Lost and Found in the Underground delivers a fervent message, particularly on the eve of our country's very pivotal election. Brett Webster is an award-winning writer, director, and producer whose plays, including Cold Coffee, Children of the Night and Turtle Soup, have been featured at theaters and festivals in Atlanta, GA and Austin, TX, and here in L.A. at Company of Angels, Theatre-Theater, Avery Shreiber Theatre, Powerhouse Theatre and the Unknown Theater, where he was a founding member.

On November 9, Nude and Sunflower by Reba Waters Thomas takes the stage. This provocative new work investigates the shadowy nature of art and ownership, principles and power, history and family. When a prominent New York judge's obsession with acquiring a work of art raises the elusive ghosts of 1939 Vienna, what past and future crimes hang in the balance, and who will ultimately pay the price? Playwright Reba Waters Thomas first played opposite Billie Burke in Mrs. McThing at the Pasadena Playhouse and went on to appear in dozens of television shows, plays and films as a juvenile performer. She acted with Stanford Repertory Theatre, taught theater at Pomona College, went to UCLA law school and practiced law in Los Angeles. This is her first full-length play. Julie Retzlaff, who has worked in NY (Ensemble Studio Theatre and Arclight Theatre Company) and CA (Pacific Repertory Theatre) directs a cast featuring Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer, Barbara Tarbuck and Jennifer Taub.

Initiated in 2002, the Botanicum Seedlings series acts as an adjunct to the Theatricum Botanicum's Summer Repertory Season, commencing before the summer activities are underway with its winter playreadings, continuing with spring playreadings as the season opens, and culminating after the season winds down with a fall workshop production or playreadings. Throughout the calendar year, plays are also selected to receive GreenReads, providing an unrehearsed, fresh look at scripts in various stages of development.

The Botanicum Seedlings fall playreadings take place Sundays, November 2 and 9 at 1 pm.  Admission to the playreadings is free and open to the public; donations to support this series will be gratefully accepted.  The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley. For further information, the public should call (310) 455-2322 or visit www.theatricum.com. The theater is outdoors; in case of inclement weather, please call for alternate performance times.



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