It”™s the battle of the sexes this summer when Theatricum Botanicum pairs two of the Bard”™s most foolishly romantic plays. Following the theme ‘Fools for love,'”¨ The Merry Wives of Windsor and A Midsummer Night”™s Dream have been selected to launch Theatricum Botanicum“™s 2011 summer repertory season.
Report by Pauline Adamek
Kicking off Theatricum”™s six-play repertory season during the first weekend of June, artistic director Ellen Geer directs The Merry Wives of Windsor, opening on Saturday, June 4th at 8 pm.
The next afternoon, Theatricum”™s one-of-a-kind, signature production of A Midsummer Night‘s Dream, helmed by Melora Marshall, opens on Sunday, June 5th at 3:30 pm.
Both plays will continue throughout the summer in the Theatricum”™s 299-seat outdoor amphitheater, carved into the Topanga Canyon hillside.
Fans of Alan Blumenfeld, who played the title role in 2009″™s The Miser, won”™t want to miss his interpretation of Falstaff, Shakespeare”™s most beloved scoundrel. Looking to fill his purse, the notorious rascal woos two wealthy wives simultaneously – with identical love letters! The ladies soon discover Falstaff”™s schemes and merrily engage to discredit their trickster suitor. With the assistance of their husbands, Falstaff receives his comeuppance in this gleeful comedy that sees the duper duped and the wives happily vindicated.
“I love that Falstaff, who is such a rapscallion, gets put in his place by all the wives working together,” says Geer. “Merry Wives is often directed as farce, but to me it”™s a beautiful piece about the coming together of a community. When it”™s all over and Master and Mistress Ford make up at the end, it always brings tears to my eyes.”
The Merry Wives of Windsor is the only Shakespeare play to deal exclusively with contemporary English life, and has been called “the original sitcom,” complete with wacky situations and a wide array of comic characters. Legend has it that Shakespeare, having killed Sir John Falstaff in Henry V, was so overwhelmed with requests to bring back the portly knight – including a request from Queen Elizabeth herself – that he finally relented with the penning of Merry Wives.
Joining Blumenfeld on stage are Theatricum company members Ted Barton as Master Ford; Tim Halligan as Master Page; Jerry Hoffman as Shallow; Melora Marshall as Mistress Quickly; Karen Reed as Mistress Page; Gerald C. Rivers as Sir Hugh Evans; Elizabeth Tobias as Mistress Ford; Paul Turbiak as Dr. Caius; and Dylan Booth Vigus as Abraham Slender. Rounding out the ensemble are Austin Andries, Michael Aurelio, Crystal Marie Clark, Liz Eldridge, Clare Fogerty, Amy Greenspan, Christian La Monte, Max Lawrence, Ella Martin, William Reinbold, Eric Ritter, Franc Ross, Taylor Jackson Ross, Maurice Shaw, and Kabin Thomas.
Buffet dinners featuring traditional British fare, with Windsor wenches and country lads in attendance, will be served on Friday, July 22 and Friday, July 29 at 6:30 pm in the theater”™s adjacent gardens, followed by an 8 pm performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor. (Dining requires separate admission. Combo packages are available.)
The most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles will once again be transformed into an enchanted fairy forest inhabited by lovers both fairy and human when Theatricum brings back its signature production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In a world of wonder, magic and romance, comical misunderstandings and the pain of unrequited love are resolved and all is reconciled through midsummer night revelries and the enduring power of nature.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream features Jonathan Blandino, Willow Geer, Amy Greenspan, and Jackson McCord Thompson as the lovers; Michael McFall as Oberon and Melora Marshall as Titania; Samara Frame as Puck; Thad Geer as Bottom; and Crystal Marie Clark, Christopher Geer, Jerry Hoffman, Max Lawrence, and Kabin Thomas as the Rustics. Also in the cast are Joanna Bateman, Sydney Blair, Mollyann Davis, Liz Eldridge, Cecilia Fairchild, Clare Fogerty, Christopher W. Jones, Shali Mals, Christopher Parker, Alice Sherman and Tyler Tanner.
Greek buffet “Dream Dinners,” with a costumed cast of fairies in attendance, will take place every Thursday in August at 6:30 pm in the theater’s adjacent gardens, followed by an 8 pm performance of A Midsummer Night”™s Dream. (Dining requires separate admission. Combo packages are available.)
The Merry Wives of Windsor opens on Saturday, June 4 and continues through September 10th.
A Midsummer Night“™s Dream opens on Sunday, June 5 and continues through September 25th.
The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd.,
midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley
Performances: June 4 through September 25, 2011
For a complete schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, call (310) 455 2322 before May 24 and (310) 455 3723 after May 24, or visit the official site here.
The outdoor amphitheater at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is terraced into the hillside of the rustic canyon.Â Audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating.Â Snacks are available at the Hamlet Hut, and picnickers are welcome before and after the performances.