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Jim Lefave

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August 30, 1998 | Diane Haithman, Diane Haithman is a Times staff writer
You might think a Sunday evening visit to the rustically beautiful Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, nestled in woodsy Topanga Canyon and often devoted to presenting Shakespeare and other well-trodden theater classics, might provide respite from the nagging political and moral issues of contemporary American society. Not on this night.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 30, 1998 | Diane Haithman, Diane Haithman is a Times staff writer
You might think a Sunday evening visit to the rustically beautiful Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, nestled in woodsy Topanga Canyon and often devoted to presenting Shakespeare and other well-trodden theater classics, might provide respite from the nagging political and moral issues of contemporary American society. Not on this night.
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September 23, 2004 | David C. Nichols
The Winter's Tale: Ellen Geer's revival of William Shakespeare's 1611 tragicomedy is fluid and uncluttered. Shakespeare culled his narrative from Robert Greene's 1588 "Pandosto," in which a king's unfounded jealousy results in the death of his queen and son, the banishment of his daughter, near incest and suicide.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 20, 2000 | PHILIP BRANDES, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
A 1970s theme--replete with period music and costumes--brings a contemporary slant to the timeless comic social upheavals of "The Taming of the Shrew" at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. Though the conceit is not without its compromises, Ellen Geer's energetic outdoor staging ignites the all-important adversarial fireworks between Shakespeare's romantic antagonists.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 7, 2001 | JANA J. MONJI, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Director Ellen Geer's version of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, is an uneven affair that doesn't shine as brightly as other recent productions of the play. But it features some winning performances. As the duo of Benedick and Beatrice, Jim LeFave (alternating with Steve Matt) and Melora Marshall (alternating with Susan Angelo) share a humorous, playful chemistry.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 19, 1996 | PHILIP BRANDES, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Without recourse to fanciful resettings, liberties with character motivation or startling surprises, "The Tempest" at the rustic, outdoor Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum proves not so much a brave new world of innovation as an accomplished and thoroughly delightful return to familiar territory. Director Ellen Geer and her engaging cast set out to make the work accessible and fun while honoring Shakespeare's text, and they succeed admirably.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 10, 1999 | MICHAEL PHILLIPS, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon's charmed and charming outdoor venue, opened its 1999 season last weekend with a buoyant take on the Shakespearean sitcom "The Merry Wives of Windsor." Despite the presence of rogue's rogue and conspicuous consumer Sir John Falstaff, "Merry Wives"--in Falstaff's own, self-describing phrase--often has "a kind of alacrity in sinking." Never a major Shakespearean comedy, the play tends to attract limiting, time-warp production concepts.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 10, 2005 | David C. Nichols, Special to The Times
It is a round, unvarnish'd tale delivered by "Othello," which opens the summer repertory season at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. Director Ellen Geer and company propel William Shakespeare's masterpiece of toxic jealousy past some tonal bumps with plain-spoken precision. Audiences have responded to the interracial psychology and thwarted ambition of "Othello" since 1604, and the title role has tested tragedians from Edmund Kean to Laurence Fishburne.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 31, 2007 | F. Kathleen Foley, Special to The Times
Nature cooperated with art on the opening night of "Dracula," a new adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic by Ellen Geer, which premiered under a near-full moon at the Theatricum Botanicum while strange animal cries echoed through the Topanga hills and bats swooped over the stage as if on cue.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 30, 2008 | Charlotte Stoudt, Special to The Times
Fame, addiction, fatality: "Long Day's Journey Into Night," now on view at the Theatricum Botanicum, posits the American family as crime scene, echoing back to the Greeks but as modern as Britney's latest rehab lapse. A half-century since its Broadway premiere, Eugene O'Neill's masterpiece still feels like a dare: Just try to look away from the carnage.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 11, 2004 | David C. Nichols, Special to The Times
The heavens continue their love of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, as "The Winter's Tale" opens the venue's 31st season with sun-dappled assurance. Ellen Geer's fluid, uncluttered revival of William Shakespeare's enigmatic tragicomedy is engaging and representative. Shakespeare culled his 1611 narrative from Robert Greene's 1588 "Pandosto," in which a king's unfounded jealousy results in the death of his queen and son, the banishment of his daughter, near-incest and suicide.
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