Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum kicks off its All-Shakespeare Summer Season in celebration of the Bard’s 450th birthday with a gender-reversed Lear for the 21st century, opening on Saturday, June 7 at 8:00 pm, and the return of the company’s signature rendering of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with performances beginning Sunday, June 8 at 3:30 pm.
Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer takes on the title role in a new production that sees Lear divide her kingdom and test the loyalty of her three sons. Joining Geer onstage are longtime company members Aaron Hendry as Goneril, Christopher W. Jones as Regan and Dane Oliver as Cordelian. Alan Blumenfeld portrays the Earl of Gloucester, Abby Craden is Gloucester’s elder daughter, the bastard Igraine, and Willow Geer is her younger half-sister, Eden. Also in the cast are Melora Marshall as the Fool, Liz Eldridge as the Duchess of Cornwall, Taylor Jackson Ross as the Duchess of Albany, Gerald C. Rivers as the Earl of Kent and Frank Weidner as Oswald. Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall co-direct.
The afternoon following opening night of Lear, cast members Willow Geer and Melora Marshall will be back on stage for a matinee performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (which they also co-direct) — this time in the roles of Helena and Titania, respectively.
Additional returning cast members include Samara Frame as Puck, Katherine Griffith as Bottom and Michael McFall as Oberon. The beauty of Topanga’s countryside takes on a new dimension as fairies and mortals alike are beguiled by midsummer passions and puckish potions.
Mediterranean buffet dinners, with a costumed cast of fairies in attendance, take place every Thursday in August at 6:30 pm in the theater’s adjacent gardens, followed by an 8:00 pm performance (separate admission, or combo packages available).
LEAR: June 7 – Sept. 28
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: June 8 – Sept. 27
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Topanga, CA 90290
(midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura Freeway)
Tickets: (310) 455-3723 or www.theatricum.com
Adults: $37 (lower tier); $25 (upper tier)
Seniors (60+), Students, Military Veterans, AEA Members: $25/$15
Children (7-12): $10
Children 6 and under: free
The outdoor amphitheater at Theatricum Botanicum is terraced into the hillside of the rustic canyon. Audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Snacks are available at the Hamlet Hut, and picnickers are welcome before and after the performances.