Theatricum Botanicum opens its 2011 season with two of the Shakespeare’s most foolishly romantic plays. Artistic director Ellen Geer directs The Merry Wives of Windsor, opening Saturday, June 4 and Melora Marshall directs A Midsummer Night‘s Dream, opening on Sunday, June 5. Both plays will continue in repertoire throughout the summer.
Fans of Alan Blumenfeld will enjoy 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.
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.
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.
The Merry Wives of Windsor opens 8 p.m. Saturday, June 4 and continues through September 10. A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens on 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 5 and continues through September 25. Tickets are Adults $32 (lower tier); $20 (upper tier), Seniors (60+): $25/$18, Students, Military Veterans, AEA Members: $20/$15, Children (7-12): $10 and Children 6 and under free. 310-455-2322 before May 24, 310-455-3723 after May 24 or visit www.theatricum.com.
The Will GeerTheatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley
The outdoor amphitheater at The Will Geer 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.
Send questions, comments and suggestions to [email protected]