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Archive for Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR at Theatricum Botanicum

Seth Weaver, A.M. Sannazzaro, and Melora Marshall. Photo by Ian Flanders

Seth Weaver, A.M. Sannazzaro, and Melora Marshall. Photo by Ian Flanders

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Centuries before there was a Marvel Cinematic Universe, William Shakespeare introduced a Falstaff Theatrical Universe with The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comedy that follows the foibles of Falstaff, the much disparaged knight who appears in Henry IV parts 1 and 2 (L.A. audiences may have seen him last portrayed by Tom Hanks in an abridged version of both Henry IVs in the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles staged in summer 2018). Read more…

Now through Oct 2

When memories meet the present moment

Valerie Perri, Leo Marks, Samantha Klein. Photo by Jenny Graham

Valerie Perri, Leo Marks, Samantha Klein. Photo by Jenny Graham

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Don’t forget ‘If I Forget’ at the Fountain. Plus ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ ‘A Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill,’ ‘King Liz,’ ‘Trouble the Water,’ ‘Freestyle Love Supreme,’ ‘Cookin’ with Gas’

The present moment is the essence of live performance. Everyone in the audience — or on the stage, for that matter — experiences an event that will never again be exactly replicated. More than filmed or “live” electronically recorded productions, live theater happens right now.

Of course improv-based stage productions, such as the current “Freestyle Love Supreme” at Pasadena Playhouse or the Groundlings’ “Cookin’ With Gas”, emphasize this quality. They rely on suggestions from the spectators, so the actual words and topics can change dramatically at each new performance (more about them later).

On the other hand, many scripted plays grapple so much with memories of the past that they sometimes ignore the relevance of the past to the present moment. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as the memories don’t feel musty. Read more…

HAITI at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Ian Flanders

Ian Flanders

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Romance! Swordplay! History! All this plus a play that probably none of us has ever seen before.Reportedly giving this play its first-ever revival since its premiere in 1938, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum presents “Haiti,” written by William DuBois (just to be clear, not W.E.B. Du Bois).
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Federal Theatre Project was created by the government during the Great Depression of the 1930s, not as a cultural activity, but as a relief measure to employ artists, writers, directors and theatre workers.
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Now running through September 29

 

OTHER DESERT CITIES at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Photo by Miriam Geer

Photo by Miriam Geer

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Jon Robin Baitz has never been afraid of putting politics onstage. He has a gift for channeling current events into complex and nuanced plays, practically in real time.     Read more…

Now running through September 30

TROUBLE IN MIND at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

 Photo by Ian Flanders

Photo by Ian Flanders

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

At times, it seems unbelievable that playwright Alice Childress wrote Trouble in Mind in 1955. The show, which features the tried and true dramatic structure of a play-within-a-play, examines racial politics with a razor-sharp wit.
Read more…

Now running through September 30

OTHER DESERT CITIES at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Photo by Miriam Geer

Photo by Miriam Geer

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

What happens in other people’s homes behind closed doors? That’s the stuff of so much Great American Theater. Read more…

Now running through October 1

ANIMAL FARM at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Photo by Liam Flanders

Photo by Liam Flanders

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

While Big Brother watches over Broadway as George Orwell’s 1984 plays there through this summer, our own Topanga Canyon is putting the neigh in neighbors with Orwell’s Animal Farm. The legendary author’s decades-old writing remains horrifyingly pertinent. Read more…

Now running through October 1

 

EQUIVOCATION at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Photo by Ian Flanders

Photo by Ian Flanders

Margaret Gray – LA Times

It may sit uneasily with our notion of Shakespeare to imagine him tackling the hot-button issues of his era like a Jacobean David Mamet.

But Bill Cain’s “Equivocation” at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum takes a scholarly theory — that “Macbeth” is a coded chronicle of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 — and runs with it all over the stage in a joyful meta-theatrical romp. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Bill Cain’s Equivocation posits Shakespeare in crisis. Not surprisingly, the bard behaves much as his characters do when facing their great questions. Cain’s character, named Shag, cogitates: To write or not to write. That, plus sly commentary on creativity and politics, witty reflections on Shakespeare’s canon, and a universal point about parental love, thoroughly fill the two-and-a-half hours of this delicious play. Read more…

Now running through Oct. 4.

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Whatever the course, the end is the renown in “All’s Well That Ends Well” in Topanga Canyon. Although it has some stylistic quirks and still-refining aspects, this affable, accessible revival of the Bard’s rambling comic study of class distinctions, romantic ambition and hard-earned wisdom is a representative outing for Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum.   Read more…

Now running through September 27.

MERLIN: THE UNTOLD ADVENTURES at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

merlinBob Verini – ArtsInLA

Merlin’s adventures, “untold?” Gosh, hasn’t the saga of the windbag wizard been told a bazillion times, in books (picture and grownup), films, TV movies, and even a couple of Broadway musicals? And the thing is, he’s really such a lousy character when you come right down to it. All-knowing, all-powerful figures are almost by definition the antithesis of dramatic; a true protagonist has got to possess some central vulnerability.
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Now running through September 29.

THE ROYAL FAMILY at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

royalfamBob Verini – ArtsInLA

A nation should know and experience its classic dramatic texts. Yet the major virtues of many of ours remain virtually unknown, even to many serious theatergoers, solely because the casts are too large for almost any contemporary producer to afford.
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Now running in repertory through September 28.