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ENTERTAINMENT
May 19, 1989 | DON SHIRLEY
The newly refurbished West End Playhouse in Van Nuys looks sharper than ever. But the same can't be said for its first production, Alan Ayckbourn's "Absurd Person Singular," as directed by Heidi Helen Davis. This three-act comedy, set in three successive kitchens on three Christmas Eves, can be a howl in the right circumstances. At the West End, the first two acts are something of a hoot, if not a howl. But the third act, when the Christmas cheer is at its least cheery, is another story.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 21, 2011 | Los Angeles Times staff reports
Heidi Helen Davis, an actress, acting teacher and stage director who had a long association with the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, died Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, her family announced. She was 60 and had breast cancer. Since 1985, Davis directed more than 20 plays for the outdoor stage at the Theatricum Botanicum, including Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1993), "The Glass Menagerie" (1994) and "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1997)
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ENTERTAINMENT
July 3, 2009 | David C. Nichols
Anton Chekhov famously described "The Cherry Orchard" as "not a drama but a comedy, in places almost a farce." That is exactly how it blossoms at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. Chekhov's final masterwork receives a gracefully rewarding production that uses aerated humor and inventive pertinence to illuminate its heartbroken core. Freely adapted by Heidi Helen Davis, who also directs, beautifully, and Ellen Geer, Chekhov's pre-revolutionary Russian aristocrats wind up outside Charlottesville, Va., circa 1970.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 3, 2009 | David C. Nichols
Anton Chekhov famously described "The Cherry Orchard" as "not a drama but a comedy, in places almost a farce." That is exactly how it blossoms at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. Chekhov's final masterwork receives a gracefully rewarding production that uses aerated humor and inventive pertinence to illuminate its heartbroken core. Freely adapted by Heidi Helen Davis, who also directs, beautifully, and Ellen Geer, Chekhov's pre-revolutionary Russian aristocrats wind up outside Charlottesville, Va., circa 1970.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 21, 2011 | Los Angeles Times staff reports
Heidi Helen Davis, an actress, acting teacher and stage director who had a long association with the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, died Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, her family announced. She was 60 and had breast cancer. Since 1985, Davis directed more than 20 plays for the outdoor stage at the Theatricum Botanicum, including Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1993), "The Glass Menagerie" (1994) and "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1997)
ENTERTAINMENT
June 30, 1996 | Janice Arkatov, Janice Arkatov is a frequent contributor to Calendar
When Heidi Helen Davis tells you she's always been a director, she's not exaggerating. Ask the Palo Alto neighborhood kids who grew up taking stage orders from her. "The first time I directed, I was 5," Davis says matter-of-factly. From fairy tales she moved on to small musicals. At 11, she became an adapter, writing and directing a staged poem in her school auditorium. At 12, she added composing ("horrible stuff").
NEWS
October 14, 2004 | Daryl H. Miller
"Watch on the Rhine": When Lillian Hellman's drama opened in 1941, it gave human form to the fascist menace in Europe. The action took place in a house outside Washington, where a Nazi-friendly blackmailer threatened a European American family. Today, this famously pro-war drama is rarely performed. Intriguingly, it was part of the summer season at the Theatricum Botanicum.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 26, 1990 | RAY LOYND
The songs in "Songs of Harmony" are members of a Chinese-American family divided between Old World parents and three very New World daughters. Karen Huie's comedy at the East-West Players, the company's Silver Anniversary production, has an inordinately weak first act but gathers momentum thereafter and ends on a mirthful note. The production's singular, unqualified achievement is actress Cici Lau as the old-fashioned Chinese wife Mrs. Song.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 27, 1995 | PHILIP BRANDES
New playwright Garrett H. Omata has a promising flair for irony and comic situations, judging from his first produced work, "S.A.M. I Am" at East West Players. Thoughtfully drawing on the dating-scene foibles confronting the single Asian male, Omata traces the lovelorn path of his hero John Hamabata (Doug Yasuda), a shy restaurant assistant manager, as he courts a beautiful news writer (Joanne Takahashi) whose romantic ideal is Sam Shepard.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 10, 1998 | PHILIP BRANDES
A spunky revival of "Lettice & Lovage" at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum has a solid grasp on the complex thematic crosscurrents in Peter Shaffer's sharp-edged comedy, but opening-night jitters also demonstrated the need for polishing. Fortunately, the problems--dropped lines and some timing lapses--were symptomatic of premature birth rather than inherent interpretive flaws.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 30, 1996 | Janice Arkatov, Janice Arkatov is a frequent contributor to Calendar
When Heidi Helen Davis tells you she's always been a director, she's not exaggerating. Ask the Palo Alto neighborhood kids who grew up taking stage orders from her. "The first time I directed, I was 5," Davis says matter-of-factly. From fairy tales she moved on to small musicals. At 11, she became an adapter, writing and directing a staged poem in her school auditorium. At 12, she added composing ("horrible stuff").
ENTERTAINMENT
May 19, 1989 | DON SHIRLEY
The newly refurbished West End Playhouse in Van Nuys looks sharper than ever. But the same can't be said for its first production, Alan Ayckbourn's "Absurd Person Singular," as directed by Heidi Helen Davis. This three-act comedy, set in three successive kitchens on three Christmas Eves, can be a howl in the right circumstances. At the West End, the first two acts are something of a hoot, if not a howl. But the third act, when the Christmas cheer is at its least cheery, is another story.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 2, 2001 | PHILIP BRANDES, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Was Medea more sinned against than sinning? The controversy over the jilted sorceress and her unique approach to family values has raged since Euripides' tragedy hit the ancient floorboards in 431 BC. At the outdoor Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum's latter-day amphitheater, director Heidi Helen Davis' powerful staging proves far too smart to limit "Medea's" timeless complexity by taking an overt stand on whether its title character is the victim of a patriarchal system.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 19, 1994 | PHILIP BRANDES
Thanks to a staging of extraordinary delicacy and insight at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" comes across like a familiar acquaintance glimpsed in a fresh light, forcing us to realize how much we've taken him for granted. There's not a wasted moment in Williams' eloquent autobiographical portrait of flawed characters, life's turning points, and tragedy inflicted through ignorance.
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