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Theatricum Botanicum

ENTERTAINMENT
July 7, 1993 | JAN BRESLAUER, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
"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.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 1998 | DON SHIRLEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
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.
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 5, 1999 | DON SHIRLEY, TIMES THEATER WRITER
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.
MAGAZINE
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?
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, 2002 | DIANE HAITHMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Is Shakespeare's always-controversial "The Merchant of Venice" an anti-Semitic play, a play about anti-Semitism, or a play that features characters who happen to be anti-Semites, but is really about something else entirely? Probably a little of all of those things.
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