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Topanga | Valley Focus

Drama Campers to Stage 3-Play Finale

August 03, 1996|ROB O'NEIL

Modified versions of three Shakespeare plays will be performed beginning at noon Saturday at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga.

The free two-hour program will mark the end of this year's five-week-long Summer Youth Drama Camp at the Theatricum.

The three plays adapted for the performances are "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "The Tempest" and "Romeo and Juliet."

About 55 youngsters, ages 8 to 14, are attending this year's camp, said Karen Reed, youth programs manager. They were divided into three groups with each group doing one of the plays. Saturday's program will be in the Theatricum's 400-seat outdoor amphitheater at 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.

In addition to the plays, the students will give brief demonstrations of fencing, song and dance routines, stage combat and commedia dell'arte, which Reed described as "an overview of the origins of slapstick."

This is the 17th year the youth drama camp has been offered.

"We want to give kids an ongoing love of theater, a respect for acting in particular, and of course, it's a very healthy outlet just in general," said Reed.

"They also learn to work as a team. We emphasize working together and all the different creative aspects of theater."

The Theatricum Botanicum was started in 1973 by actor Will Geer and his family. Two years later, the Academy of the Classics was formed to offer both adult and youth classes.

Besides its Topanga facility, the Theatricum conducts classes at Valley College in Van Nuys and Hollywood United Methodist Church.

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