A Post-Civil War America Sets the Stage for Theatricum’s As You Like It

Willow Geer (Rosalind) and Colin Simon (Orlando). Photo credit: Ian Flanders

Willow Geer (Rosalind) and Colin Simon (Orlando).

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum kicks off its 2015 Americana season on Sunday, June 7 with an all-American staging of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, re-set in the divided South of the post-Civil War era and featuring traditional American folk music and dance from that period.

A tale about two sets of brothers — one alienated by ambition, the other estranged by envy — As You Like It is easily transposed to a time when our country was a house divided. Willow Geer stars as Rosalind, forced to flee camp when her uncle Frederick (Thad Geer), usurper of his brother’s position as a general in the Union army, threatens to have her killed. Accompanied by her cousin Celia (Elizabeth Tobias), Rosalind disguises herself as a man for safety’s sake. The disguise comes in handy when she tests the devotion of her noble admirer, Orlando (Colin Simon), on the run from his hostile older brother (Frank Wiedner). Meanwhile, the rebel camp is alive with music — banjo, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and more. With Rosalind’s wit leading the way, the forces of true love, justice and song eventually triumph.

“Re-setting the play just after the Civil War enlarges the scope,” say director Ellen Geer. “It heightens the point about brothers being pitted against brothers, and takes us to a deeper level.”  Also in the cast are company members Leo Knudson as Corin; Gerald C. Rivers as Touchstone; Earnestine Phillips as Aida; Christine Breihan as Phebe; Crystal Clark as Audrey; Sonny James Calvano as Silvius; Jonathan Blandinoas Le Beau; and Melora Marshall as Jaques.

Willow Geer, Gerald Rivers, and Elizabeth

Willow Geer, Gerald C. Rivers, and Elizabeth Tobias (Celia)

June 7 – September 26, 2015*
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

*A pre-show discussion will take place prior to the Saturday, August 15 performance at 2:30 pm (included in ticket price)

The outdoor amphitheater at Will Geer’s 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 performance.

Photos by Ian Flanders. Click Here for more photos from the production.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Zumsteg
    May 14, 2015 @ 20:21:07

    “Melora Marshall as Jaques” – Well, we should be in for a treat, then!



  2. Shakespeare in LA
    May 14, 2015 @ 21:14:37

    I think you’re right!



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