Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream Open Theatricum’s 2021 Season

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle      June 25, 2021

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Two beloved plays by William Shakespeareare are set to welcome audiences back to Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. The 2021 summer repertory season, sponsored by the S. Mark Taper Foundation, opens with Julius Caesar on July 10 at 7:30 p.m. and A Midsummer Night’s Dream on July 11 at 4 p.m. All thee plays will be performed in 80 minutes without intermission. Theatricum’s audience will see Julius Caesar, Shakespeare’s thriller about power, politics and the elusive nature of truth, through a slightly different lens, with the iconic tale told from the vantage point of the Soothsayer (played by longtime company member Gerald C. Rivers). “We want to draw attention to the timeliness of the play—to how history repeats itself—without updating it or making any other significant changes,” explain co-directors Ellen Geer and Willow Geer. “Shakespeare’s story about the fall of Rome is a microcosm of our own society. By subtly shifting the point of view, we hope the audience will view this familiar story through new eyes.” The production is headed up by Theatricum favorites Mark Lewis as Julius Caesar, Michael McFall as Marc Antony, Christopher W. Jones as Brutus, Melora Marshall as Cassius, Willow Geer as Portia, Cynthia Kania as Calpurnia, Max Lawrence as Marcellus and Franc Ross as Casca. The opening of Theatricum’s signature piece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will follow one day later, when Theatricum infuses the Bard’s beautiful language with song to heighten the pleasure. Select sections of Shakespeare’s text will be sung to original music by Ellen Geer, with instrumentation and additional music by Marshall McDaniel. Prepare to be transfixed as the most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles is transformed into an enchanted forest inhabited by lovers, both fairy and human, a world of wonder, magic, romance and comedy where misunderstandings and the pain of unrequited love are resolved through midsummer night revelries and the enduring power of nature. Melora Marshall directs and stars as Titania, Queen of the Fairies, alongside Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company’s Lisa Wolpe as Oberon, and Terrence Wayne Jr. as Puck. The four lovers are played by Ethan Haslam (Demetrius), Julia Lisa (Hermia), Joey Major (Lysander) and Sara Mountjoy-Pepka (Helena). The hilarious Mechanicals are led by Thad Geer as Bottom and Earnestine Phillips as Quince, with Ted Elrick as Starveling, Jacob Salazar as Snug, Sky Wahl as Snout and Elias Wygodny as Flute. The world premiere of The Last, Best Small Town by John Guerra will join the repertory on July 31. 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 three plays in a single summer weekend. The amphitheater is terraced into the hillside, so audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating, which will remain socially distanced. Masks are required as dictated by L.A. County guidelines on the day of each event. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 N Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA 90290. For tickets: (310) 455-3723 or theatricum.com
The Canyon Chronicle
      June 25, 2021

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