July 7, 1993 |
"Stella . . . Stella . . . Ste-el-la!" isn't the call of the wild you usually expect to hear in bucolic Topanga Canyon, but it's ringing out loud and clear these days. The volatile world of Tennessee Williams' New Orleans has arrived on the outdoor stage of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. And this "A Streetcar Named Desire" is no less than a definitive production of a key American play, thanks to a stellar cast headed by Ellen Geer's Blanche DuBois.
August 7, 1998 |
The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is a haunting environment for "The Crucible," Arthur Miller's examination of the Salem witch trials. The location of the alfresco theater, in a woodsy glen in rural Topanga Canyon, effectively suggests a community on the verge of wilderness, as Salem was in 1692.
August 2, 2001 |
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.
August 5, 1999 |
The alfresco Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga is the most richly atmospheric home that the first act of Chekhov's "The Seagull"--set outdoors on a Russian estate in midsummer--will ever find in Southern California. The synthesis of setting, season, script and Heidi Helen Davis' staging makes this an especially memorable production. True, later in the play the site-specific quality isn't quite as ideal as in the first act, in which even the time of day is a perfect match.
September 15, 1996
Poor old Beverly Hills real estate agent Jeffrey Hyland, who, along with his shuddering, sniffing and reminiscing Westside associates, cannot separate the twin concepts of "hot tubs" and "canyon living" ("Where'd All Those Darn Hot Tubs Go?" by Laura Accinelli, Aug. 4). His further singling out of Topanga Canyon as a prime example of an outmoded lifestyle only shows he has no idea of what Topanga is all about in the '90s. Why doesn't Hyland saddle up his Rover and come up for an eye-opening tour of our community?
June 8, 1997 |
The name of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum suggests that the late founder Will Geer's priorities were almost as much botanical as theatrical. For example, when the seating for the outdoor theater in Topanga was constructed, Geer wanted to make sure there would be room for plants to grow up between the seats, said his daughter Ellen Geer, now the artistic director of the place. And so the seating consisted of old railroad ties sprawling haphazardly across a lopsided hillside.
June 20, 2000 |
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.